Skip to main content
News announcement16 May 2024Directorate-General for Environment2 min read

Urban sustainability: Which cities are competing for 2026 European Green Capital & Green Leaf Awards?

The winners will be announced on 24 October at an Awards Ceremony in Valencia, Spain, Europe’s 2024 Green Capital.

View of Valencia

Below are the European cities that have chosen to take up the challenge and join the competition for the next European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards. By entering the competition, the cities want to show that they are already on the green transition path, creating a healthier environment for their citizens. 

Eligible applications for the European Green Capital Award 2026 with over 100,000 inhabitants, are: Braga (Portugal), Brasov (Romania), Córdoba (Spain), Guimarães (Portugal), Heilbronn (Germany), Klagenfurt (Austria), Linz (Austria), Riga (Latvia), Rybnik (Poland)

European Green Capital 2026 map

For smaller cities of 20,000 inhabitants, the cities competing for the European Green Leaf Award 2026 are: Águeda (Portugal), Esplugues de Llobregat (Spain), Estarreja (Portugal), Garges-Lès-Gonesse (France), Livry-Gargan (France), Mafra (Portugal), Olbia (Italy), Pszczyna (Poland), Saint-Quentin (France), Sant Boi de Llobregat (Spain), Sant Joan Despí (Spain), Vaasa (Finland)

European Green Leaf Award 2026 map

The winners will be announced on 24 October 2024 at a festive Awards Ceremony in Valencia, Spain, Europe’s 2024 Green Capital.

Next steps of the competition

A panel of seven independent experts will now begin a technical assessment of each application. Each of the seven indicator areas[1] will be assessed and peer reviewed. This will take until June to complete. Individual technical assessment reports will be drawn up and a shortlist of finalist cities will be announced in the summer of 2024.

In October, the finalist cities will be invited to an international jury panel, chaired by the European Commission. Finalists shall present to the jury their communication strategy along with an action plan on how they intend to fulfil its European Green Capital year, should the city win. 

Award prizes: Apart from a trophy, the European Green Capital winner will receive a financial prize of €600,000. The title of European Green Leaf is awarded to one or two cities and each are granted a financial prize of €200,000. The prize money is intended to support key actions across the seven indicator areas in the city and organise awareness raising events with and for the citizens.

What are the benefits?

Being a European Green Capital or a European Green Leaf brings many benefits long after the designated ‘winner’ year ends. Winners get attention on a European or even international scale plus they create a spirit of optimism in their city, which attracts more investors, more national support and citizens proud to be part of it. More background information can be read in our press kit.

For more information: 

WebsiteEuropean Green Capital Award - European Commission (


LinkedInEuropean Green Capital Award 

EU Policy on Urban Environment 

[1] 1) Air quality 2) water 3) biodiversity, green areas and sustainable land use 4) waste and circular economy 5) noise 6) climate change mitigation 7) climate change adaptation


Publication date
16 May 2024
Directorate-General for Environment

EU Environment newsletter

Green landscape with person on bike, tree and buildings in the distance.

EU Environment newsletters deliver the latest updates about the European Commission’s environmental priorities straight to your inbox.