Don't just go on a summer holiday, travel with a purpose
If you want to travel with a purpose by doing volunteer work, there is no need to go overseas! There are plenty of cool volunteering projects in countries such as Greece, Portugal and Croatia. Volunteering will provide the opportunity to get to know these European countries in a different way. You will work closely with the locals and will learn more about their culture, traditions and lifestyle. There is always a project that will fit your interests, whether you want to work with animals, help clean up the ocean, work in construction or fight food waste.
If you want to travel with a purpose, volunteering is the way to go! We've set up our top 5 volunteering projects in Europe:
1. Wolf conservation in Lisbon
If you would love to work with animals, this is a great project! By volunteering at the Iberian Wolf Recovery Centre you will make sure these endangered species have a comfortable place to live.
The volunteers help with the conservation and protection of the wolves. Some of your daily activities will be feeding of the wolves, helping with the maintenance of the infrastructure, fire prevention, forest cleaning and observation of the wolves.
A fun bonus is that on the first day you will also get a tour in Lisbon! In the city centre the local staff will help you with all the things you need. Afterwards you will head out to the wolf centre in Mafra, where you will stay in wooden houses together with other volunteers.
2. Marine conservation in Split
Discover the underwater world while working as a marine conservation volunteer in Croatia! Have you seen the latest documentary of David Attenborough? Then you know that the ocean plays a big part in the health of our planet.
As a marine conservation volunteer you will help to reduce sea pollution and conserve marine life. Some of your daily activities might be collecting trash from the sea, logging information on the collected items, learning more about the marine ecosystem and how to protect it, and observing and identifying fish. To be able to do this you will of course need to spend a lot of time in the ocean!
All volunteers will complete internationally recognized SSI (Scuba Schools International) diving certifications. These certification can differ, depending on the length of your say and your diving experience. The project works together with a local diving school, so you will always be supervised by an experienced dive instructor.
Get to know more about this project:
3. Sea turtle conservation in Greece
During this project you will protect one of the most important nesting areas of the loggerhead turtle. Together with other international volunteers you will record the nesting activity and protect the turtles against predation by mammels and inundation by sea water. In addition you will provide important information about the conservation to overseas visitors and the local community.
It is an incredible experience to witness the hatching of the turtles and seeing them making their way to the sea. Although it is high likely that you will see turtles during this project, it is not guaranteed.
During this project you will also have some time to explore the area and enjoy the Greek beaches. The project is located near a small village called Giannitsochori, where you can also explore some Greek historical ruins.
4. Food rescue project in Porto
Are you the biggest fan of the "To good to go" app? Then this project might be just for you! You will get the opportunity to fight food waste in the city of Porto.
As a volunteer you will support different centers which recover leftover food in good condition from local restaurants, supermarkets and cafés and re-distribute it among families, elderly and homeless people in need. Your daily activities can vary from collecting the food, assisting with packaging, cleaning and distributing the food.
This project mostly takes place in the afternoon and evening, which gives you plenty of time to explore the region in the morning or learn some Portuguese.
5. Forest conservation in Lisbon
This project is perfect for nature fans! You will spend most of your time in a natural park in the surroundings of Lisbon, where you will help with the ecological recovery of degraded areas. The forest conservation program works closely with the local community.
Together with other international volunteers you will study and learn about the forest and work on different activities depending on the time of the year. Planting different species, protection of biodiversity niches and the management of pedestrian trails are some of the activities that you will be doing.
You will mostly work either a morning or an afternoon shift, which gives you plenty of time to discover the city of Lisbon. A fun addition to this project is the fieldtrip out of the city that takes place once a month. For 2 to 5 days you will explore some other villages and areas in Portugal.