Volunteer in Portugal
When you think of Portugal you probably think of sun, sea, sand and a great lifestyle. Why not be far more than just your average tourist and do something rewarding by applying to volunteer. International organisations and local charities have been working in Portugal for a number of years to help people, wildlife and the environment and they recruit volunteers all year round.
Volunteer Programs in Portugal
Guide to Volunteering in Portugal
If you are interested in apply to volunteer in Portugal our guide will help you arrange a placement. This is the perfect way to spend a meaningful holiday or gap year in Portugal. If these experience appeals to you search our featured projects or get in contact with NGO's and organisations and apply today.
Location of Projects
Portugal is quite a small country but there are projects operated throughout the country in places like Alentejo, Braga, Lisbon, Oporto, Faro and also spectacular Madeira. There are also outreach programs working in small towns like Vieira do Minho.
Community Development Programs in Portugal
The worldwide recession has had a terrible effect on Portugal and has meant few jobs, high unemployment and people living below the world poverty line. Around 18% of the population of Portugal live in poverty with many families on poor incomes, various local NGO's work to help these people and you can play a role too. Some religious organisations offer placements helping people too, sometimes you can be teaching or working on summer camp programs leading fun games and events for children.
Habitat for Humanity have been helping residents in Braga, Northern Portugal improving infrastructure and housing for local people. You can apply for join group building and construction programs working directly on the ground where you will see the difference you are making constructing schools, community centres and also farms. Portugal has very old architecture and buildings - some placements are in remote parts of the country which can provide you with a local experience away from the tourist crowds.
Volunteer in Portugal in Exchange for Food/Board
There are lots of opportunities to work at hostels, hotels and also farms which offer placements for international travelers, you will usually help out and work a few hours a day and then you are provided with food and a free place to stay. WOOFING is one such program which is very popular, sometimes these positions are not advertised and you will need to ask around locally. This is a great way to experience the country on a budget and integrate into the local society.
Volunteer with Wildlife in Portugal
Portugal is located in a spectacular area with beautiful coasts and white sandy beaches. Due to increasing levels of tourism there is a need for environmental protection, summer group conservation projects are very popular where you could be helping with rubbish collecting, cleaning the countryside/beaches, helping fauna and flora and also planting trees which often get destroyed from fires during the hottest times of the year. If you are passionate about wildlife there are placements at animal shelters and also zoos - if you have any skilled or previous experience like veterinary this will be appreciated.
- Wear lots of sunscreen - this country gets hot especially during summer
- This is a very safe country but pick pocketing in the large cities can be a problem so keep an eye on your belongings
- You might want to go see a local football game in your space time, this country has some of the best players in the world including Christiano Ronaldo
- We highly recommend taking a phrase book or learn Portuguese words and phrases which will really help you for the duration of your stay
- There are lots of activities on offer which you will get to experience, most of the time you will work for around 5 hours per day with nights and weekends off
How to Apply
By working in Portugal you will get to visit a popular European destination and improve your language skills, this is a very popular year round destinations and there is no best time to apply. Finding paid positions can be really difficult and please note sometimes some organisations provide pocket money for living costs but this can be low. The good side is though this is a relatively cheap destination compared to other destinations in Europe. Full training is provided on arrival to placements so don't let not have any experience like this put you off applying. Also no visa is required to volunteer for most Nationalities e.g. USA / EU citizens.
Help / Advice
If you need any help in arranging a volunteer placement in Portugal please get in touch.
Portugal Volunteer Reviews
If you have ever been to volunteer in Portugal and would like to write about your experience, recommend a recruiter or share any advice please contact us.
If you offer volunteer opportunities in Portugal and would like to be featured here please contact us.