Guimarães is one of the finalists for European Green Capital 2026

Guimarães is on the shortlist of the three finalist cities vying for the title of European Green Capital 2026. The municipality has reached the final stage of the competition for the second year running and will be competing with Heilbronn (Germany) and Klagenfurt (Austria) for the title. The winning city will be announced on 24 October at a ceremony in Valencia, the European Green Capital of 2024.

For Domingos Bragança, mayor of Guimarães, “it is a great source of pride for the municipality of Guimarães to once again see its work in favour of sustainability recognised”. The mayor believes that Guimarães’ presence, for the second year running, among the finalist cities for the title of European Green Capital is proof that the path being followed is the right one. “Our commitment to environmentally sustainable development is only possible with the support of schools and universities, companies and citizens, because only in this way will we achieve the common goal of raising public awareness of the need to protect the environment and thus combat climate change. The initiatives and actions we have been carrying out over the last few years make Guimarães a benchmark for other Portuguese and European cities,” says the mayor.

The panel of seven independent experts who assessed the initial batch of nine candidate cities valued the performance of the three finalist cities, including Guimarães, in seven environmental parameters: air quality; water quality and efficiency; biodiversity, green areas and sustainable land use; waste and circular economy; noise pollution; energy performance and climate change mitigation; and adaptation to climate change.

According to the jury, the municipality of Guimarães was selected “for its waste management and circular economy practices, banning single-use materials at city events and promoting food waste prevention programmes. It has also improved water efficiency by reducing water consumption in municipal buildings, detecting and repairing leaks at an early stage and setting up public water stations.”

In October, the finalist cities will present to a panel of international judges, chaired by the European Commission, their communication strategy and the action plan that will be implemented if they are elected European Green Capital 2026. As well as a trophy, the winning city will receive a financial prize of 600,000 euros to support key actions in the seven environmental indicator areas and to organise awareness-raising events with and for citizens.

Guimarães 2030 ecosystem leads sustainable transition
Over the last few years, Guimarães has strengthened its commitment to sustainability through actions and projects that are part of an integrative, participatory and multidisciplinary governance ecosystem, Guimarães 2030. This is a model coordinated by the municipality in conjunction with the Landscape Laboratory and, in addition to the government, involves universities, companies, non-profit organisations, political decision-makers and citizens. The aim is to make the territory climate neutral by 2030, with a focus on research, education and environmental awareness.

The inclusion of Guimarães on the shortlist of cities vying for the title of European Green Capital 2026 comes after, in 2017, Guimarães came fifth in the race for the 2020 title and, last year, it was one of the three finalist cities for the 2025 title – a title that was eventually awarded to the city of Vilnius, Lithuania. If Guimarães wins, it will become the second Portuguese city to be honoured, after Lisbon won the title in 2020.

About the European Green Capital
The European Green Capital, initiated in 2010 by the European Commission, promotes sustainable cities by annually recognising a city that is a leader in environmental standards and ambitious targets for urban sustainability and the fight against climate change. These cities serve as inspiring models for other cities, leading social change and implementing the European Green Deal. Eligibility is aimed at cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants in the EU Member States, EU candidate countries and some associated countries.