Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of Basque Country, has been also named the Green Capital thanks to the so-called Green Ring, a perimeter around the city formed by six large parks that can be explored on foot or by bicycle.
Although Vitoria is a perfect destination for sustainable tourism, it’s a charming place and has no shortage of museums, galleries and fine dining restaurants. The city is situated less than an hour away from Bilbao and a short distance from Rioja Alavesa, a world-class wine area. That makes Vitoria is a great addition to any travel plans when exploring the Basque Country.
During my arts management studies the Bilbao effect was a leading topic of many lectures and the Guggenheim Museum used as one of the flagship examples of arts-led regeneration. I was intrigued by this transition from the industrial port city to the cultural magnet and I always wanted to find out how this academic hype measures up to the reality. At the beginning of June I finally had a chance to visit the capital of Vizcaya.
Pincho or pintxo, as it is known in Basque, is a little piece of heaven on a plate. Well.. at least in my book! This small snack from the north of Spain can come in different forms and some of its variations can be very elaborate in terms of flavours and textures. Often a toothpick or a skewer is used to spike all the ingredients to a piece of bread, which could explain the name pincho – literally a spike.
Pinchos with cured ham and goat cheese
Although I had a chance to try pinchos in Barcelona, tasting this speciality in the Basque Country was unbeatable. I was spoiled for choice most of the times and it was very hard to decide on my snacking selection.
When visiting Bilbao I was lucky to hang out with Jess, my bubbly friend that I met in Valencia, as she knew the city and its best pincho bars like the back of her hand. She also introduced me to Txakoli, a very light white wine popular in this part of the country.