Vitoria and province of Alava
Vitoria is the capital of the province of Ãlava and the region of Basque country. The city has a medieval quarter full of beautiful gardens and woodland walks. Vitoria manages to be a green lung without losing its cosmopolitan and urban city image. Its medieval streets mingle harmoniously with Renaissance palaces and neoclassical churches.
The Plaza de la Virgen Blanca is situated in the heart of the city and is presided over by a monument to the Battle of Vitoria. The church of San Miguel is also located in the square, which houses the image of the Virgen Blanca, patron saint of the city. Arquillos, the arcaded walkway that connects the old quarter to the city's urban space, can be accessed via the Gothic doorway in the church of San Miguel.
The Santa MarÃa Cathedral or the 'Old Cathedral' stands in the highest part of the city. It is a magnificent Gothic cathedral which was constructed between the thirteenth and fourteeth centuries.
The oldest streets in the city are situated around the cathedral: CuchillerÃa, HerrerÃa, CorrerÃa, etc. While walking through them, visitors can encounter some of the most important Renaissance palaces in the capital. For example, the palaces of Escoriaza-Esquibel and Urbina ZÃ¡rate are located in HerrerÃa street; The PortalÃ³n, the House of Maturana-VerÃ¡stegui and the Anda Tower are located in CorrerÃa street; The 16th century BendaÃ±a Palace and the Historic-Artistic Monument, the House of CordÃ³n, are loacted in CuchillerÃa street.
The Plaza de los Fueros is located in the historic quarter of Vitoria, which was designed in the eighties by the famous Basque artist Eduardo Chillida. The Cathedral de MarÃa Inmaculada or the 'New Cathedral' is also located in this part of the city. The Basque Parliament building, which dates back to the 14th century and contains the regional courts, is situated next to the Cathedral. Both buildings flank the entrance to the La Florida central park; one of the most emblematic parts of the city.
Other green spaces in the capital include the Judizmendi park, which presides over the ancient cemetery belonging to the Jewish community, and the San Juan de Arriaga park, which is the biggest park in the city. Among the city's many mansions, the Augusti Palace is most deserving of a stopover visit. The building, which was built in 1912, houses the Fine Arts Museum and has been declared an Historic-Artistic Monument.
The province of Alava
The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage has left its own particular artistic mark on the province. The town of Zalduondo, which contains an ethnographic museum, the Renaissance Lazarraga Palace and a parish church, is the first stop on the pilgrimage route in Alava.
The Aizkomendi dolmen, one of the megalithic sites in the Basque Country, is situated near to the town of Eguilaz. Following the pilgrimage route from this point, you will encounter the medieval town of Salvatierra. It is worth visiting the remains of its old walls and Renaissance houses, as well as the churches of San Juan and Santa MarÃa. The towns of AlegrÃa and Vitoria-Gasteiz are situated further along the route and the path eventually leads to Santa Domingo de la Calzada in the Region of La Rioja.
The province of Alava has an incredibly rich natural heritage, with many protected natural areas. Some of these include the Valderejo natural parks in the western part of the province, the Izki Nature Park, home to some of the largest Pyrenean oak forests, and the Gorbeia Area Natural Park, located in the territorial boundary between Alava and Vizcaya. The Gorbeia Area Natural Park is considered to be one of the most beautiful natural tourist attractions in the Basque Country.