Three beautiful cities are vying to host the 2028 European University Games: the Spanish city of Granada, the Turkish city of Manisa, and the Croatian city of Split. They are in a fierce competition to convince EUSA (European University Sports Association) to choose them.

All three cities boast significant attributes to be suitable hosts for the games, including infrastructure, natural beauty, history, communication, and a strong desire to host the event. The decision won't be easy for the EUSA Executive Committee, which will convene in April 2024 in Aveiro, Portugal, after the submission of bid documents and rigorous evaluation visits.

What can each city offer to try to persuade the evaluators?

Granada will likely showcase the magic and Andalusian hospitality along with its artistic and architectural monuments, including the Alhambra. The city, buzzing with students, is home to the University of Granada, an EUSA associate member (ranking among the top 10 universities in the 2022 games in terms of team numbers and participation). It also hosted the European University Tennis Championships this year.

Granada, Spain. Southern Spain is among Europe's biggest tourist destinations. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Granada, Spain. Southern Spain is among Europe's biggest tourist destinations. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Manisa, situated in the Central Aegean region of western Turkey, is a medium-sized city (just under 300,000 people) known for its location on the slopes of Mount Spil. It is home to the newly affiliated Celal Bayar University of Manisa, which has successfully competed and earned medals in EUSA sports such as karate, beach volleyball, and futsal.

On the other hand, Split is the second-largest city in Croatia and the largest on the Croatian Adriatic coast. Like Granada, it is rich in history, combining summer tourism with history and culture, highlighted by the fourth-century Diocletian's Palace in a dreamlike historic center. Split has hosted numerous EUSA championships, including the Sveti Duje International Rowing Regatta (an EUSA-sponsored event). It recently hosted the EUSA Executive Committee Meeting in May 2023 and the European University Futsal Cup in July 2023. The city is home to the University of Split, an EUSA associate member.

Regardless of the chosen venue, the 2028 European University Games will include mandatory sports (12), such as Badminton, Basketball, 3x3 Basketball, Beach Handball, Beach Volleyball, Football, Futsal, Handball, Rowing, Table Tennis, Tennis, and Volleyball. Combat sports (4) include Judo, Karate, Kickboxing, and Taekwondo. Optional sports (11) encompass Chess, Golf, Rugby 7, Sport Climbing, Orienteering, Taekwondo, Water Polo, Padel, and Swimming.

It's worth noting that the upcoming EUSA European University Games will take place in Debrecen-Miskolc (HUN) in July 2024, and the subsequent edition has already been assigned to the city of Salerno on the stunning Amalfi Coast of Italy for 2026.