Vitoria Spain to Discover a City Untouched by MassTourism While Studying Spanish in Spain

Vitoria is situated on a vast plain surrounded by mountains; 60 Km from the coast, 30 Km from the vineyards and old wine cellars of the La Rioja region, and 50 Km from the monasteries where the first texts in Spanish language appeared.Now the city has 225.000 inhabitants. In the 1950´s, when the city had about 60,000 residents, Vitoria experienced a significant population boom. Its dynamic industry and services sectors attracted many people from other Spanish regions to settle in this ever-growing city.The entire old town, with its narrow streets and unique architecture, has been declared a monumental group.

The gothic churches of Santa Maria, San Vicente, San Pedro and San Miguel as well as the renaissance palaces of Montehermoso and Villa Suso, are worth seeing.Afterwards, you can stroll through the Arquillos, an arcaded walk that leads to the two main squares: the Plaza de España, and the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca. This central area perfectly links the medieval quarter to the modern the town-centre.This bustling area is filled with people strolling, shopping or sitting at the countless outdoor cafés, which line the streets. Time flies as you sit and watch people coming and going and children trading their card collections on Sunday mornings.

.The parks, pedestrian-only streets and wide avenues are an open invitation to walk to the Museum of Fine Arts or the Romanesque church of San Prudencio. You can also go jogging around the Prado or San Juan de Arriaga parks.

If you prefer a more relaxing time, you can try visiting cafés and bars and enjoy basque cuisine.In the Basque Country, eating means much more than just satisfying a basic need. Cooking and eating are vital parts of every day life for the Basque people, who argue, do business and make long lasting friendships around a tablecloth.

Basque cuisine, based on products from both land and sea, is famous in the rest of the country and abroad.Here you can try both the most traditional as well as the most innovative cuisine, as well as one of the most famous wines in the world - the Rioja wine.Fish, be it from the Basque coast or the remote fishing-grounds, exploited for centuries by the arrantzales (Basque fishermen), is the star of Basque cuisine.

Hake, red bream, tuna and salted cod, prepared in a number of ways, are the foundations of most recipes. You can also find the more modest species such as sardines or anchovies, as well as turbot, anglerfish or sea bass.In addition, the tapas, called "pintxos" in the Basque Country, are real miniature pleasures in and of themselves.

In Vitoria, as in the Basque Country in general, you do not necessarily need to sit down if you want to eat a good meal. The ritual of the "txikiteo", that is, groups of friends who go from bar to bar drinking txikitos (small glasses of Rioja wine) or zuritos (small glasses of beer), has been extended to food: the tempting "pintxos". While some of these small portions are quite simple, others have reached such a level of sophistication that they are already being called a miniature cuisine.

Many bars proudly exhibit their own unique creations and specialties. We are sure you will succumb to them.It does not matter when you visit Vitoria because various artistic and cultural events are celebrated the year round: concerts, lectures, theatre, an open air market held in the old town on the first Saturday of each month, soccer, basketball, pelota (traditional Basque Jai-alai game)?.The most important events include: the Dance Month, the Spring Craftsman's Fair, the International Folklore Festival, one of Europe's most important Jazz festivals in mid July, a medieval market held on the last weekend of September, the Wine Fair in early November, where numerous wine cellars of the La Rioja region present their wines, the week of the "pintxo" (tapas), where the city's bars and restaurants offer their best "mini" culinary creations? and a great many more things to discover.One of the most important celebrations is the festivities dedicated to patron saint of the city, the Virgen Blanca, held from the 4th to the 9th of August.

There are bullfights, pilgrimages, processions, fireworks and all sorts of popular celebrations for all ages.As you can see, this friendly land, where everybody is welcome, has a great variety of things to offer you.

.Ara Ruiz is a Spanish teacher and runs a Spanish school in Vitoria, Spain.Contact details: E-mail: marketing@zadorspaincom Ara Website: http://www.zadorspain.


By: Ara Ruiz

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