Photo of Vitoria

Visit Vitoria

Vitoria is the capital of the Basque government and lies 65km south of Bilbao in the Navarra and La Rioja region of Spain.

Vitoria, also known as Gasteiz, is built on the highest point of the provence. Vitoria became a very prosperous town due to the trade of iron and wool and has a number of fine buildings.

Explore Vitoria

Vitoria is a pleasant town with a relaxed atmosphere, lots of excellent Basque restaurants and bars and some beautiful Renaissance palaces and impressive churches. It is relatively quiet, not being on the main tourist trail, making it a very relaxing place to visit.

To visit the old town of Vitoria start at the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca which has a large memorial to a battle fought nearby where the Duke of Wellington defeated the French in 1813. All around the plaza are lovely old houses with 'miradors' (windowed balconies). On the hillside above the square is the Gothic church of San Miguel.

Walk from the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca to the old cathedral (Vitoria has two cathedrals) of Santa Maria, meandering through the streets as you go. Make sure you see the 16th century Palacio de Escoriaza-Esquibel with its Plateresque (early Renaissance) patio. Around here are lots of narrow alleys and steep steps. It is particularly lively on a night.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria was begun in the 13th century, when it was part of the city defences, and then in Renaissance times building work took place to beautify it. Unfortunately this led to structural problems and some major restaration has had to take place. It has a Gothic west door with finely carved saints above it.

Close to the cathedral is a lovely 15th century merchants house, the El Portalon, which is now home to a fine restaurant.

One of the highlights of a visit to Vitoria is the 18th century Plaza de Espana, a beautiful arcaded square, and the adjoining arcaded street of Los Aqruillos.


Museums in Vitoria

The Museo de Arqueologia is housed in a half-timbered 16th century building and includes exhibits from Roman and medieval times.

The Museo de Naipes houses various colections of playing cards including some Tarot cards designed by Salvador Dali.

The Museo de Armeria has collections of weapons and armour.

The Museo de Belles Artes are housed in a Neo-Renaissance mansion and include works by Ribera and Picasso.

Where to visit near to Vitoria?

The fabulous coastal town of San Sebastian is near to Vitoria and should definitely not be missed. San Sebastian is one of our favourite towns in Spain. Castro Urdiales is a popular resort town that is nearby. It has an attractive harbour.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Navarra, La Rioja, Basque Country guide.

See also: 

Map of Vitoria and places to visit


Vitoria places to visit

Castro Urdiales

Castro Urdiales

Castro Urdiales is a fishing town with an attractive harbour. It is a popular holiday resort.

Castro Urdiales guide
San Sebastian

San Sebastian

A beautiful town on the edge of the La Concha beach which is often said to be one of the best in Europe.

San Sebastian guide
Centre and Romantic Districts of San Sebastian

Centre and Romantic Districts of San Sebastian

Donostia-San Sebastian is a beautiful seaside city and the Romantic and Centre Districts are full of fabulous Belle-Epoque buildings.

Centre and Romantic Districts of San Sebastian guide
Old town of San Sebastian

Old town of San Sebastian

San Sebastian is a beautiful city and its old town is a thriving district with bars and pintxos and a charming harbour.

Old town of San Sebastian guide
San Sebastian's Mount Urgull and Mount Igeldo

San Sebastian's Mount Urgull and Mount Igeldo

Mount Urgull and Mount Igeldo sit at either side of San Sebastian's beautiful La Concha beach.

San Sebastian's Mount Urgull and Mount Igeldo guide


Laredo has a lovely beach and an attractive old town. It is a thriving holiday resort.

Laredo guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Navarra, La Rioja, Basque Country