Vitoria-Gasteiz is a fun place to hang out for a day or two if you are passing through.
We camped out at the nearby Ullibarri-Gamboa Lake surrounded by nature in the hills and mountains for a couple of weeks. The nearest free campervan services to the lake are located in the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz.
So after a few drive-bys to the aire nestled amongst the initially unexceptional city high rise blocks, we noticed a fun fair setting up next to the aire one weekend and decided to stay a night and check it out.
On our initial wander we found the Andulucian Cultural Centre, a two minute walk almost adjacent to the aire. There is a colourful on site restaurant serving San Miguel on tap for €2 and offering an amazing selection of tapas.
The friendly barmaid explained with hand gestures, points & smiles that there would be a flamenco fiesta held here on the weekend if we wanted to come back.
So glad that we didn’t miss the invite! It was our first fiesta experience…the live music and dance moves shared by everyone young and old on the dance floor was mesmerising. A real community affair, with lots of young people, grandparents and children dancing and running around late into the night. Our little girl was in love with the whole atmosphere and had great fun making friends and learning her first flamenco steps.
The next day we set off into town to explore on foot, caught a tram into the medieval Old Town. The trams are cheap and easy to hop on… A metro stop is on the same road as the aire (€1.40 for a single ticket). To catch the tram into town you need to stand on the platform furthest from the aire towards Angulema.
There are only two tram lines in and out of town so they are easy to figure out where you are headed without too much confusion. We hopped off in the centre, just around the corner from Plaza Espana and went for a walk around Old Town (just look on Google maps for the central maze of narrow one way streets and you will know you are heading in the right direction!) beautiful tiny streets weave around cafes and town houses with majestic galleon style window boxes. It feels very special to wander the streets around here, looking up at the old church bells of the city and watching the people meander by.
We visited the Plaza Espana and wandered into a nearby La Creme cafe for churros con chocolate. The food was beautiful, reasonably priced and the waiter was so kind and friendly. The plaza felt quite sleepy during the day, but it made us want to visit it of an evening when people told us that the tapas bars come to life and there are usually children running around late into the night.
There is the La Florida Park that is worth a visit too if you have time on the walk back, and a cathedral (but we were all still a bit churched out after italy, so walked around some more streets, popped in a few shops and just had fun exploring on foot!)
Nearby La Florida Park is our new favourite gourmet food shop One Gin Gourmet a must visit if you love eating good quality local produce.
The undoubted highlight for the children was the city centre park they spotted when we first drove through town. Its a free park just like any other, but inside a huge glass building. The small people thought this to be amazing and promptly named it the ‘house park’ (it is really close to the The Art-ium, a huge art gallery in the centre) so we hung out there most of the afternoon while the kids played and made some new friends.
We realised we had walked some way towards the aire so hopped on at a different tram stop to head home and rest our happily tired legs.
Before leaving the city the next day we found the Pirate Galleon Parc and had to visit, its like something that has just jumped straight off the page of a storybook, the children loved every second.