Vitoria-Gasteiz has been the political capital of the Basques since the 20th May 1980. Spanish is the main language, but knowledge of Basque is common. English is not widely spoken. The Basque language is called Euskera and nobody knows exactly the origin of this language.
Visitor information: Tourist office at Plaza General Loma 1 is open daily from 9 am till 7 pm, closed at midday.
You can visit Vitoria-Gasteiz coming from Bilbao Airport (Loiu) on a toll road or using public transport (Autobuses La Unión). Vitoria-Gasteiz has a small Airport (Aeropuerto de Foronda) 8 km north of the town with a few flight destinations.
Currently the air fares are very low. There is a shuttle bus between the airport and the bus station in the centre of town, which seems timed to coincide with the major arrivals and departures, and cost 3 euros each way.
There is a left-luggage facility at the Coach Station (to the east of the city centre). Cost is roughly 1 euro per bag per day, and you can leave luggage for several days.
Situated in the south of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz is a city without sea. To the North, at only 66 km is the city of Bilbao, and at 114 km the beautiful city of San Sebastian. The South part of Alava province, is called La Rioja Alavesa, where the visitor can test ones of the best red wines of the world. There are a lot of touristic tours, and you can find more information about in the following web: http://www.rutadelvinoderiojaalavesa.com/. The province situated in the South of Alava is La Rioja, where the cultivation of wine is one of the most important attractions.
Vitoria-Gasteiz itself is a very small city. Virtually everything you will want to see is reachable on foot.
The city has an ancient town center where most of the streets still have the medieval name of the jobs that was used to be in each one of the streets (Herrería, Zapatería...) In the Town Center you can find the Cathedral of Santa María, that is one of the most important attractions of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Guided visits can be made, and it´s recommended to make the reservation via Cathedral Santa María web page.
Two new shopping malls were opened in the north of Vitoria on the road going to Bilbao comprising grocery, DIY, cinemas, bars and everything else you need.
Or go to the traditional small shops in the town center such as Calle Dato. This is the place where you find Vitoria-Gasteiz's best shops and bars as well.
Leather and shoes is always an option in Spain and especially in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Ayestaran located in Calle Dato is a place where you can find nice stuff. Sadly, it is expensive.
Corte Ingles is Spain's flagship retailer and the store is located in the center of the town: you can probably find everything you want, but it is pricy by Spanish standards.
Traditionally you can have a few small drinks in the bars around the town center and enjoy this with some tapas. Usually every bar has one speciality and it is interesting to taste them and then you go to another bar. The boiling point for bar visits is at 2 pm just before lunch time. The Basque cuisine is one of the best in Spain and Vitoria has restaurants in all categories.
Around the town center there is a bar every few meters. Some are designed for younger people other do all ages.
Move around to see the atmosphere! City Center. Early at night: Plaza Virgen Blanca, Calle Dato, Calle Postas Later at night (11 and over): Medieval Area. Main Streets: Zapatería, Cuesta de San Francisco, Cuchillería, Pintorería, Nueva Dentro, Nueva Fuera "Ensanche" Area. Main Streets: Calle Dato, Calle Postas, Calle San Prudencio.