Vitoria is one of the most beautiful and visited cities in the Basque country. One of the more obvious advantages of this big city is the tranquillity. It simultaneously has the advantages of both a large-city, (expansive public transport, shopping centres, libraries, sports complexes, cinemas, theatres…), and those of a rural world. Additionally, it has the headquarters of the University of the Basque Country (UPV), which assures you’ll have the university atmosphere.
What to see in Vitoria:
Vitoria is a city made for walking, for enjoying strolling without rush or stress. The best part of Vitoria is the old town, filled with charming houses with white-bay windows. Yet modern Vitoria is also not to be forgotten, as this is where the expansion of the city began.
The views from the famous Fray Francisco walk include beautiful palaces and the Basque’s regional president’s grand resident. The Florida park has a lovely walk to the new castle, and then going on to the White Virgin, the new plaza, and the medieval city.
Some of the most important sights are:
The Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria
Novelists such as Ken Follett and Toni Martinez have used this Cathedral as inspiration for the stories in their books. Visits can be made to the cathedral and the tower.
The market takes place on the first Saturday of each month. 180 tradespeople and craftspeople participate, and there are activities such as the Barricas walk, in which various bars offer a pincho (small tapas bar snack) with a dish or small glass of beer for 1.5 euros.
The Basque capital is one of the best cities in Europe in terms of green space per person, about 42 metres squared. This, in total, amounts to 10 million metres square of park land to walk through, run in, admire the nature, and ride horses through. The Green Ring is one of the principal reasons that the European Commission has the title; Vitoria- the European Green Capital.
Central Museum of Basque Contemporary Art
This museum exhibits 3000 works of art that make up the Diputación Foral de Álava (Regional Council of Alava); Picassos, Dalis, Sauras, Tapies, Oteizas. Aside from exhibitions, there are cinema festivals, contemporary dance, poet recitals, conferences…everything under the umbrella of culture.
Where to Live
It costs around €400-600 to rent a three-bedroomed flat, which makes the cost of living adequate. Transport is cheap and you’ll find many student discounts. There are usually flats to rent in good areas that aren’t especially expensive.
The majority of students recommend living in the University Area. A short time ago the news announced that Vitoria is one of the most expensive places to live when compared to salaries, as seeking accommodation in the historical centre could cost a student half of their budget.
Renting in a more classy area ensures that it will adjust itself to the supply and demand. This area is found south of the old town. Furthermore, the university offers quality residences with decent prices.
Where to go out
Generally speaking, the students in Vitoria are diligent, yet fun and party-loving. At night, Vitoria is definitely known for the bar parties, especially Thursday and Friday nights. Old Town, Kubrik or The End are some of places jam-packed with young adults.
The best walked streets are the Kutxilleria, the Pintoreria and the Zapateria. These three streets are full of bars with different music and don’t shut until 3.30am. After that, many head to free clubs such as the Jimmi Jazz, sala One, The End or the Cool.
Although the ”Pinchos” culture is something that one could never leave behind. Vitoria offers a lot of possibilities for young adults. Many prefer bars like Anboto, Zazpi or Erdizka. In the majority of places, there’s a delicious daytime menu: El Deslorian and the Camerino are good examples.
Don’t forget to enjoy the city and live the unique experience!
Translated and Adapted by Alice McLaughlin, Leeds University Student