Vitoria-Gasteiz: the basque capital10:53 AM
Until I had the chance to spend a week there for a training course and I was amazed! Amazed about the fact that north of Spain is totally different from the rest of it and from the beauty of Vitoria. If we omit the food, the drinks and the lifestyle that betray you are in Spain, Vitoria looks like it belongs to a northern European country. The truth is that the basque country is very green, very cold (it was May and 7 degrees!), very chic and quite well preserved.
Vitoria, although it is not so known as modern Bilbao or beachy San Sebastian is an attractive, buzzing city with 240.000 inhabitants and the winner of the European Green Capital in 2012. Strolling around its old quarter, memories of history unfold. It is full of crowded pubs, cozy cafes and quite amazing boutiques. It can easily be seen in a day or two and is less than an hour away from Bilbao.
And a little bit of history:
Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital city of the Basque Autonomous Community and of the province of Álava in northern Spain. It was founded in 1811 by the king of Navarra as a defensive outpost on top of a hill at the site of the previous settlement of Gasteiz. Vitoria is known from the important Battle of Vitoria of the Peninsular War which occurred near Vitoria-Gasteiz along the river Zadorra on 21 June 1813 as its victory assured the eventual end of French control in Spain. A memorial statue can be seen today in Virgen Blanca Square.
Beethoven dedicated his Opus 91, often called the "Battle of Vitoria" or "Wellington's Victory", to one of the most notorious historical events of the Napoleonic wars.
- Try pintxos, the basque tapas, they are everywhere!
- The perfect place for nightlife is without doubt Calle de la cuchilleria: a street full of bars, cafes and young people.
- Do not miss the outdoor escalators in the middle of the streets with which you avoid the conventional stairs! How cool is that?? You will find them in Cuchilleria.
- Visit Toloño Bar (Cuesta de San Francisco 3), if you want pintxos with Michelin stars.
- Before your visit watch the spanish movie "Ocho apellidos vascos" if you want to be prepared for the basque culture.