This capital from the Basque Country is a small and lovely city. Vitoria, the city of culture and sustainability, is a must visit place for the culture lovers, for those travelers who want to find a calm and interesting city with many museums to enjoy and learn about art. Furthermore, and because you always may want as well to try good food, in Vitoria, after visiting all those museums, you should go to its old town taverns, where you can taste the best Basque food in the form of their famouse pintxos and txakolís.
The first stop you should make in this artistic route around the city of Vitoria is in the Bellas Artes Museum, located in the former pre-renaissance palace from 1912 that is today an artistic-historic complex. In the facilities of this amazing building you can find a big collection of Spanish painting from the XVIII and XIX centuries. Nevertheless this collection is focused in the Basque art from the 1850 to the 1950 years, with important Victorian paintings, leaving also space for painters like Carlos de Haes, Ignacio Zuloaga, Darío de Regoyos or Federico de Madrazo. Don’t miss their wonderful gardens full of animal sculptures.
The next museum we should visit is the Artium, a modern contemporary art museum working since 2002. This building expands under the square where it is located and has in its inside an important art collection from Álava, in which we can also find art works of international personalities like Joseph Beuys, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí or Pablo Serrano. This art centre, like many others, pretends to break the barriers of traditional museums dealing with a broad programme of culture activities to foster education and contemporary art.
Other interesting stop is in the Bendaña Palace, an amazing renaissance palace that shelters the Fournier Museum, destined to the Spanish deck of cards creator, one of the best playing cards museums in the world. Next to this palace there is as well the Archaeology Musum where there is an important collection of more than 1500 pieces of ancient sites from Álava dating from pre-history to the Middle Ages. This building was designed by Patxi Manglado to keep all those sites, and due to this design he won the European Prize of Copper Architecture. It is also recommendable to visit the Armoury Museum, where we can find all kind of objects related with this authentic art, so important in this region, including a section especially dedicated to the Vitoria Battle.
In spite of all we’ve said, the way you can enjoy Vitoria’s art the best is walking its streets. You must visit its cathedrals, the Old Cathedral, that dates the XIII century and is located in the highest point of the hill, and the New one, a neo-gothic temple and the second biggest cathedral in Spain, after the one in Seville. But what is more, there is also art on its streets, public art spread around the squares and avenues of the city, here you may find works like those of Oteiza, Chillida or Basterretxea, from which there stand out the Fueros Monument of Chillida, or Hombro con Hombro of Agustín Ibarrola. A fantastic artistic walk around the streets of this clean, beautiful and green location.