Vitoria-Gasteiz is the most modest of all the Basque cities.It doesn’t have a fancy beach like San Sebastian nor a Guggenheim Museum like Bilbao and because of this it is often overlooked. Vitoria offers visitors many of the same things other Basque cities do but it also offers things they don’t. Many buildings there date back to the 1500’s and earlier and are very nicely preserved.This new side of Vitoria offers an interesting contrast to the old center.We have put together a hand selected list of the most important things to do and see in Vitoria.Every year on the 4th of August at 6 pm, locals gather to watch Celedón come down from the tower of the Church of San Miguel, marking the start of the Virgen Blanca Festival.In the middle of the Virgen Blanca Square stands the monument portraying the “Battle of Vitoria” (21st of June of 1813) against Napoleon’s troops.
The city has really expanded in recent years and since Vitoria isn’t limited by any geographical boundaries, it has been easy for it to grow outward.It was built between 19 in an eclectic style, mixing baroque and romanic architecture with a little bit of neo-basque.The owners were Ricardo Augustin and Elvira Zulueta, therefore it is also known as the Augustin-Zulueta Palace.It is a rather peculiar subject for a museum, but is none the less interesting.Outside of the old town there are a few “newer” palaces that are also worth a mention, such as the Palacio de Augustin-Zulueta, which now houses the Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Art).
The strategic position on the hill helped old Vitoria to become a defensive stronghold coveted by the Kingdoms of Navarra and Castile during the 11th and 12th centuries.