Vitoria’s largest annual festival, the Fiesta de la Virgen Blanca, is celebrated from August 4 to August 9 each year. On the first day, head for the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca with a blue-and-white festival scarf, a bottle of champagne (or cava) and a cigar, and wearing old clothes. At 6pm, the umbrella-toting “Bajada del Celedón” – a life-size doll dressed in traditional costume – appears from the church tower and flies through the air over the plaza. This is the signal to spray champagne everywhere (hence the old clothes), light the cigar and put on your scarf – which the hard core don’t take off until midnight on the 9th, when Celedón returns to his tower, signalling the end of the fiesta. In between, the town is engulfed in a continuous party.
During the third week of July, the city also hosts a jazz festival that attracts big-name performers (wjazzvitoria.com).