Volunteer in Portugal
An experience for those who just love the ocean. Discover a new underwater world and contribute to clean trash from the Atlantic Ocean. From beginners to advanced divers!
Volunteer in the countryside to protect the forest riding a horse and contribute to foster social inclusion supporting hippotherapy classes for disabled people.
Volunteer in Porto and promote the circular design and the reduction of textile waste, selling exclusive clothes with the collaboration of different designers!
Volunteer work in Portugal
Volunteer and discover the land of the Fado as you relish the remnants of Portugal’s historical past. Considered to be one of the best value destinations in the world, Portugal has become an affordable yet well-developed country. However, there’s always room for improvement which is why volunteers are in great demand to help out on various fronts. Volunteers who love the sea can help rid the Atlantic Ocean of trash suffocating its marine life. Those keen on strenuous, physical work can join a volunteering project to renovate and build houses for less fortunate communities. Indulge in Portugal’s rich culture without breaking the bank and contribute to something that will make a difference to many. Bem-vindo a Portugal!
Before going into detail about the different volunteer projects, let’s get to know this beautiful country a little better. This magnificent country has a rich history dating back over 900 years. Did you know Lisbon is older than Rome and that Portugal played an important role in exploring and discovering other parts of the world? Here are a few other interesting facts about this cultural gem:
- It is the oldest country in Europe with the same borders.
- Half of the new world once belonged to Portugal, it was the first global empire of the world.
- Portuguese is still spoken in 9 countries worldwide due to the colonization.
- It is the first colonial power to abolish slavery.
- Portugal is one of the world’s top surfing spots, the largest wave ever surfed was in Portugal.
- The longest bridge in Europe is called the Vasco Da Gama bridge and is situated in Portugal.
🇵🇹 Why Volunteer in Portugal?
Portugal is an intriguing volunteering destination, to say the least. Despite being part of the European Union, Portugal like all countries challenges that struggles which are a work in progress. Volunteers are therefore warmly welcome to work on both environmental and community development programs. Whether you are a student who wants to do an internship in Portugal or looking for a working vacation in Portugal, look no further. We have several options available on our platform.
Join a program to maintain the unique biodiversity of Portugal’s landscapes or improve the standard of living of the local community. Here are some of the different projects you can participate in:
Conservation Programs in Portugal
Nature lovers will be inspired by environmental conservation programs in Portugal. Those who like being by the sea will rejoice to join a project to help protect marine life and cleaning up waste. Others may prefer to head inland and protect the habitat of certain wildlife, like wolves. Whatever you choose, it will be an unforgettable experience with a meaningful impact.
🐳 How to Volunteer for Marine Conservation in Portugal
We all know marine life is slowly losing the battle against plastic. If you’re fascinated and worried about what goes on beneath the horizon, look no further. Join forces with other marine enthusiasts and help clear up the trash floating around the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the tasks as a marine conservation volunteer in Portugal are:
- Take internationally recognized Diving certifications
- Explore the underwater world of the Portuguese coastline
- Learn about the marine ecosystem and how to protect it
- Collect trash from the bottom of the Ocean to recycle it
- Work with the local community - educate them about environmental issues, conservation, and protection of biodiversity and marine resources.
Those who don’t know how to dive yet, don’t despair. Marine volunteer programs offer diving lessons and a diving certification that will enable you to contribute to conserving the delicate marine ecosystem. What are you waiting for? Pack your swimming gear and prepare to learn the secrets of the Atlantic Ocean as you help to keep it clean.
🐺 How to Volunteer for Wolf Conservation in Portugal
If you love nature and animals but you prefer to keep it dry and on land, join a project for wolf conservation. Help conserve their natural habitat and prevent this lone creature from becoming extinct in this part of the world. Apply your efforts to enforce the UN sustainability goal 15 and take this unique opportunity to connect to nature and help with wolf conservation. Some of the task you will be involved with as a wolf volunteer:
- Helping with the feeding of the wolves
- Monitoring and observing wolves
- Checking and refilling the wolves’ water supplies
- Maintenance of infrastructures and forested area
- Fire prevention (depending on the time of year)
👩🏼🤝👩🏻 Volunteer for Community Programs in Portugal
Social volunteers can volunteer for one of the community programs in Portugal. There are different ways you can contribute:
- Help avoid food waste by redistributing food waste from restaurants and supermarkets to the homeless community and others who need it.
- Work with the youth by supporting underprivileged youth by involving them in afterschool activities as you have a positive impact on their life.
- If you have a green thumb, why not get involved in an agricultural project that includes those with intellectual and physical disabilities. This is a minority that struggles to be included in the job market. Empower them by involving them in society.
🥔 How to Volunteer to Prevent Food Waste
According to numbers provided by the UN, more than 1,3 million tons of food are wasted worldwide on an annual basis. At the same time, there are 124 million people in 51 countries worldwide suffering from hunger. Volunteer and help reorganize food waste by picking it up from hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets and help redistribute it to those in need. Grasp this opportunity to join one of the food waste volunteer programs in Portugal and solve two problems at once. Tackle the waste problem while helping those within the community battling hunger.
We are convinced most volunteers will find a volunteer program to their liking in this beautiful country. Combine this volunteer adventure abroad with the chance to discover the Portuguese versatile landscapes. Immerse yourself in its seafood-inspired cuisine as you get wrapped in the melancholic tunes of a fado. Last but not least, don’t forget to indulge in the world-famous Pastel de Nata.
👩🏽🏫 How to Volunteer and Teach English in Portugal
Countries in Southern Europe don’t have the best English skills. This is a very important skill for the population because the tourism industry is so prevalent in countries like Portugal. If you’re a teacher or aspire to become one and have good English skills, you can help marginalized youth increase their future opportunities by teaching them English. Teach English in Portugal and make a difference in people’s lives!
🌍 Where to Volunteer in Portugal?
The majority of volunteer programs are located in the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. Boasting impressive architecture and a historic town center, Lisbon and it’s seven hills will give you plenty to experience. Did you know Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world?
Volunteers who prefer more remote locations will find this when volunteering for one of the conservation projects. Volunteers who want to experience an authentic Portuguese city with excellent culture and incredible food can volunteer in Porto.
🤑 How Much does it Cost to Volunteer in Portugal?
The suggested daily budget for living in Portugal as a volunteer is between US$ 40 and US$ 98. This is an estimate made considering the local average price of some of the goods and services you may need. It gives you a general overview of how much things cost in this country so you can prepare accordingly. Because your accommodation is provided by the organization, your living expenses may be a bit lower than what’s mentioned below.
Once you have contacted the coordinator of the project, you will have a better understanding of the daily costs and how much you will need to make things work during the volunteer program.
Additional costs you should consider will be:
- program fees
- flight tickets (find cheap flights to Portugal)
- travel insurance (we recommend World Nomads)
- fees for your visa
- personal expenses
An exemplary overview of living costs in Australia (in US$, for one person) is:
💲 Can I Volunteer in Portugal for Free?
There aren’t any free volunteer programs in Portugal at the moment but you can use our filter option to select volunteer programs that are within your budget. You can always contact our live chat team to help you with this.
Please keep in mind that all paid volunteer opportunities offer accommodation. The details on the program page will give a good idea of what is included during your stay.
💡 Good to Know Before you Volunteer Abroad in Portugal
Before starting your volunteer program in Portugal, there are a few things you should think about first. The following points will give you an idea of what to expect and watch out for during your travels and time at the volunteer programs.
Culture and Etiquette
- Greetings When greeting females or mixed company, an air kiss on both cheeks is common courtesy. Men give each other a handshake.
- Visiting churches It is considered disrespectful to visit churches as a tourist during Mass. Taking photos at such a time is definitely inappropriate.
- 'Free' appetizers Whatever you eat, you must pay for, whether or not you ordered it. It's common practice for restaurants to bring bread, olives, cheese and other goodies to the table, but these are never free and will be added to your bill at the end. If you don't want them, a polite 'No, thank you' will see them returned to the kitchen.
Money and Payment
- You don’t need to carry a lot of cash in Portugal because electronic payment is very common and ATMs are widely distributed. Be sure your card is activated if you carry a debit card, however.
- If you are volunteering in remote places, it’s always a good idea to carry a fair amount of cash. The nearest ATM could be a long way away.
🦺 Is it Safe to Volunteer in Portugal?
Before embarking on your Portuguese volunteering abroad experience, there are a few things you may want to take into account. International travel always holds some adventure but your safety will keep you healthy and relaxed so you can enjoy your volunteer experience abroad to the fullest:
- Make sure you have international travel insurance for the time in Portugal.
- Take copies of your passport and credit cards and store them separately just in case.
- If you’re in a major city, don’t walk alone in secluded areas, don’t flash cash, high-value electronics, and don’t get excessively drunk.
- The only crime you might experience (mostly in large cities) is theft in crowded places or on public transport. Pay attention to your wallet, especially on buses or trains.
- Avoid hitchhiking and accepting rides from strangers.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.
- Don’t leave your luggage or other personal belongings unattended.
- When you go hiking, always inform someone about your whereabouts before leaving.
- For the police hotline and most emergencies dial-in Portugal: 112
Portugal is a developed EU country with very good health facilities. Make sure you look up the closest hospital to your volunteer program just in case. If you are staying close to the city, there are plenty of hospitals with doctors who will make your stay at the volunteer program enjoyable. Take into account the following health tips which will help you avoid the most common travel illnesses:
- If you don’t already have them, you will need Hepatitis A, B, and Rabies vaccines when you travel to Portugal.
- Definitely protect yourself against the strong sun if you travel in the summer or are close to the sea.
- If you have any health problems or take medication, be sure to bring the medication and the prescription along with you. The prescription can be important when passing through customs.
After reading all of the above, we’re sure you’re ready to pack your bags and volunteer abroad for one of the volunteer programs in Portugal. Before you stuff your backpack with swimwear, shorts, and sunglasses, here is a useful list of items that will come in handy during the volunteer program abroad:
- Travel Insurance
- Money, cards, credit cards
- In Portugal the power sockets are of type F. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
- Waterproof phone case to protect against dust, scratches, and water
- Water shoes for spending time at or around the beach
- Personal medication, first-aid kit
- Sun hat
- Quick-dry towels
- Suitable footwear for hiking etc
🕵🏽♀️ Who Can Volunteer in Portugal?
As you will have noticed by now, there is a variety of projects that expect different skills and abilities from their volunteers. Some will require volunteers to stay on the program for a certain amount of time while other programs are more flexible with the minimum amount of time. Although you can find the specific requirements for each project on the program page of the organization, here are some general requirements that apply to most projects:
- Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old for most of the volunteer projects abroad. When in doubt, we advise you to get in contact with the local project manager because some projects will make exceptions and allow volunteers from the age of 16 to participate.
- You need to have basic English skills to do volunteer work in Portugal. Portuguese is the official language. When traveling to rural areas, it may be a good idea to learn a few phrases because not everyone will understand English. Rest assured, you’ll be able to communicate in English with the staff of the volunteer program.
- Depending on the project you're interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering.
Students can use their volunteer work experience as an internship in Portugal and gain extra credits. Others may see their volunteer experience as a working holiday in Portugal. Whether you’re young or more mature, you definitely have a place on one of the volunteer programs. People often think they need lots of time to volunteer. That’s not true. Volunteers with a lot of time on their hands can volunteer for longer periods but there are also options for those seeking a short but meaningful time in Portugal. 1 week in Portugal as a volunteer can make a difference.
❓ How to Volunteer in Portugal
Take a look at the following 3 steps that will prepare you for your volunteer work in Portugal and an unforgettable adventure abroad:
- Check whether there’s a match between you and the Portuguese volunteer opportunity by looking at their requirements.
- Take a look at the location of the project and decide whether it’s a place you’re excited about traveling to.
- Get in touch with the organization and see whether your expectations and schedules match up. If you want to volunteer in Portugal for a week or for a longer period of time, check the project descriptions for more details.
🛂 Do I Need a Visa to Volunteer in Portugal?
As an EU citizen, you won’t require a visa to volunteer in Portugal. Most other countries can visit Portugal without a visa for a limited amount of time. Please consult the following list to check whether your country requires a visa to enter Portugal.
Visas for those countries that require them should be obtained prior to coming to Portugal. This can usually be facilitated by the hosting organization and by getting in touch with the nearest embassy or consulate where you live.
Here are a few guidelines that are always good to follow during international travel:
- Please check the current validity of your passport. The passport should be valid at least 3 months after your expected return home date. However, we strongly recommend traveling with 6 months validity on your passport at all times.
- Make sure your passport has at least two blank Visa pages in case you need a visa and need to extend it.
- Please check if a transit visa is required for any connections.
- Make sure to be in possession of a valid return ticket for your travel home.
Please take into account that the following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. You should make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your contact person at Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the Portuguese embassy in your country.
Volunteer in Portugal, several programs are waiting for your help. Be sure to read more about the various programs on our website and apply for a program that suits your preferences. We look forward to answering your questions and supporting you as you prepare for your volunteer adventure abroad!