Location
  • Portugal
    • Lisbon
Length
1 to 12 weeks

Program Details

Language
English
Timeframe
Short Term Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Housing
Guesthouse Hostel
Travel Type
Budget Family Older Travelers Solo Women

Pricing

Starting Price
455
Price Details
Fully hosted experience from only $455 for 1 week - this includes accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, orientation and 24/7 in-country support.
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Meals
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Jun 13, 2021
Jun 07, 2022
60 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Trusted by 114,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the world's most popular volunteer programs in Portugal and 50+ other destinations around the world.

Based in the coastal city of Lisbon, volunteers can choose from 7 meaningful programs starting at just US$455 for one week. When you're not giving back to the local community, you can immerse yourself in Portuguese culture and join exhilarating tours for periods ranging from 1 to 12 weeks.

Your fully-hosted experience includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in either a homestay or a volunteer house with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers, so even before you depart, you’ll receive outstanding service from your IVHQ Program Manager and gain exclusive access to volunteer training and preparation tools.

Consider your impact: Volunteering abroad can be a rewarding experience for both volunteers and local communities, and at Go Overseas, we believe all volunteers should have the resources to make informed decisions about the type of volunteer project they want to partake in. However, despite best intentions, some organizations offering placements in orphanages may unknowingly place children in danger. You can read about the potential dangers of orphanage volunteering here. Learn more about how International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ is promoting ethical volunteering.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • IVHQ’s Portugal programs are available year-round, starting the first and third Monday of every month
  • Fully-hosted volunteer experience from only $455 for 1 week - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • You’ll be joining a global network of 114,000+ volunteers backed by the world’s leading team of volunteer travel experts with an outstanding safety system and track record
  • Support impact-driven volunteer projects run by locals within your host community
  • Flexible booking and free changes so you can register with confidence

Popular Programs

Wolf conservation in Portugal with IVHQ

As a Wolf Conservation Volunteer with IVHQ, you'll assist at centers that house wolves rescued from zoos, illegal trapping or human captivity. In a forested valley in Mafra, wolves live outdoors in large enclosures with the aim of providing them a life as similar as possible to what they would experience in their natural habitat.

divers in wetsuits standing on a dinghy

Reducing marine pollution and conserving marine life is an overlooked issue in Portugal. Volunteers on this project have the opportunity to help with underwater clean-up efforts focused on the protection of the marine ecosystem in Cascais. Tasks include cleaning rubbish on the sea floor, learning more about the marine ecosystem and how to protect it, observing and identifying fish, collecting data on fish numbers and more.

volunteers working in a kitchen

Homeless people in Portugal face inequality and poverty every day. This project aims to reduce these inequalities and support people to a place where they are proud of their situation and their place in society. Volunteers work in a homeless center with people from different backgrounds, though there is a specific focus on those with addictions who don’t have any social or family support.

student and teacher at chalkboard

There are many underfunded organizations within Lisbon that aim to provide youth with a safe place to go after school, where they can come together, interact and take part in various activities. Many of the youth in this project come from underprivileged backgrounds and a key role for volunteers is to simply spend time with them, being a positive role model and having an interest in them and their future as this is something that many of them have never experienced before.

Program Reviews

9.76 Rating
based on 38 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 97.37%
  • 7-8 rating 2.63%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 38 reviews
Default avatar
havva
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great program amazing people !

IVHQ was not only affordable but very straightforward with the program and how they do things. I enjoyed my stay in Portugal and working with kids so much planning to do another program with them. 11/10 the best and most affordable international volunteering program. I had chance to work in the youth support program. I helped in a program where the kids from the local school came after school just to do homework, get tutoring, or just hang out with friends until their parents came from work. It was a very rewarding experience. I built many connections and made some great memories.

3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Mike
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering abroad at 16 years old

My name is Mike O’ Neill from Ireland and I’m 16 years old and in March 2022 I volunteered with IVHQ for 1 week in Lisbon in Portugal doing youth support. I decided to volunteer in Portugal as it is close to home for covid- 19 restrictions.
I went with a friend from school as we both wanted to make a difference in the world while seeing a new place. IVHQ was so helpful with pre departure information and there was someone always willing to answer any questions I had. IVHQ emailed me a 12 step process to help me prepare without forgetting anything. When we arrived in Lisbon we were collected by the organisation and brought to our accommodation. The accommodation was amazing as it was so clean, it had amazing food and everyone there was so friendly. I’ve never met people so kind and willing to help. On the 1st day we met 5 new people from Columbia, USA, England, Germany and Netherlands. We had free time on the 1st day so we all went for a walk and got to know each other. On the 2nd day we had orientation and we got to meet all the staff and all the volunteers. There were 14 nationalities. We got a presentation about the area and our volunteering programmes. We got all the tips when it comes to transport, food and money etc. After our presentation we all got tuk tuk tours around the city. After that we had free time and our friend group went out for Mexican food. At this stage we were all really good friends. The next four days myself and my friend Max we’re volunteering in a centre with underprivileged children teaching them maths, English, geography and history. We also got to do boxing with them in the boxing club. It was one of the most fulfilling times of my life and I felt like I’ve made an impact in their lives. In the evenings of the week about 8 of my friends and I went out for food and clubbing and really bonded. Myself and my friend decided to stay an extra 2 nights. On the weekends we have free time so on Saturday we all went out for breakfast and explored more of the city and went out at night and on Sunday I visited my cousins who live in Lisbon as my uncle is the Irish embassador to Portugal. It was very emotional leaving the following week as we had gotten to know everyone so well. It was the best holiday I’ve ever been on and I’ve made life long friends. In May I’m returning to Lisbon to visit some of the friends. And in July I’m meeting 2 other friends in NYC to catch up.

I can’t describe how amazing this trip was and it was a great cultural experience and personal growth.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves travelling and volunteering no matter your age.

Pros
  • Personal growth
  • Cultural experience
  • New friends
6 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Jean
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Making a Difference!

Review of volunteering in Lisbon, Portugal for IVHQ
The volunteer activity I signed up for was called Food Reclamation. As my first time with IVHQ, I decided to volunteer for one week. The volunteer program coordinator picked me up at the airport, spoke English very well, and gave us a good orientation to the hostel, the city, and the volunteer site. I was impressed by the professionalism and helpfulness of the IVHQ staff. They were always ‘cleaning’ the eating environment (dining room) and housing area of the hostel. My program location was staged out of a warehouse. We collected food, repackaged it, and dispersed it to families in need. The work was hard, but I always felt good when I was done each day.
Jean W

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you decide to do this project you get to see first-hand how your hard work benefits others. The IVHQ partners who donate their food get to see different volunteers (you!) every time their donation is picked up (be sure to smile as you work!). They realize that the work you do is very important to those who are less fortunate or need a helping hand. You provide a needed connection to ensure that the recipients will have food.
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Eva
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Food rescue in Lisbon

Hii! I’m Eva and I’m from Spain. This summer I’ve just volunteered with IVHQ in Lisbon, Portugal, and I loved it, so I just wanted to help you in this journey! I did the food rescue program in the Refood Santa Maria Maior and I liked it so much, you can actually see your impact when you get to give the food to the people who needs it. I stayed at the Impact House, where everyone is so so nice and they will help you in everything. The food was good and healthy, and I loved the pool (and the Fini ice cream!). I was a bit worried at first because of the language and also because I’m 17 and i didn’t know how everything was going to be, but everyone (volunteers, internships, workers...) was very nice. I recommend you to stay more than a week, so that you can really adapt to everything, enjoy and make an impact. Lisbon is so beautiful, I really liked Lxfactory, Cascais, the pasteis de bacalau... It’s so hot in summer, and you also have always to take the green bus card (valid also for the train, subway, trams...). You are going to make a lot of friends here, and go out everyday. I hope this helped you ☺️

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I recommend you to stay more than a week! So that you can adapt and then enjoy and have an impact
16 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Ioana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

New horizon

If I were to describe this experience in only one word I would say it was mind-opening. It has helped me evolve from so many points of view. Not only did I learn to be more independent and choose for myself, but I also I got to know amazing hard-working people. I managed to do my project and build friendships with the other volunteers. I felt that I truly belonged to that world and I was devastated when I had to leave. The program was simply marvellous. I can say I got to live one of the best moments of my life when I encountered an octopus that gripped my hand. I have never felt something like that ever before. I think that this experience helped me grow a lot and made me understand how beautiful and unique the marine world really is. Furthermore, I managed to learn new things about a foreign culture and I loved exploring different parts of Lisbon on my own and with other volunteers. Even more, the staff was so kind and helpful that I almost felt part of their family. All in all, I find it incredible that even after a month I still think about those moments and me and the other volunteers are still keeping in touch. Now, all I want to do is embark in a similar adventure as soon as possible.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I ate some king of fancy seafood that was alive. You could touch it with a fork and it would move.
19 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Michelle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing and Enlightening

I did the food rescue project with IVHQ in Lisbon, Portugal. The experience was truly an unforgettable one, I have made memories that I will cherish forever.

I would say that I am quite shy, and was really nervous about making friends during this, I quickly overcame all that and have made so many friends from this, friends from all over, and friends of all ages.

One moment I will never forget is when I saw a homeless man eating the food that I had just prepared, it completely warmed my heart and made me feel whole.

I got to experience such a rich and beautiful culture, I learnt some of the language, I learnt how to be more eco-friendly and sustainable, and I've become more aware of the world around us and how many people are in need.

I will definitely volunteer with IVHQ again, especially since I will be 18 next year and will be able to do so many more. As a high schooler, this helped me make friends with people my own age and people older than me, it helped me become more independent, and helped me see the world in a new way. Yes it did help for my university application, but it is so much more than that.

IVHQ is great for anyone and everyone, if you just want to help the world in a way, or if you're incredibly passionate about something, IVHQ has something for you. And if you're in high school, if you've just retired, if you want to travel or stay home, IVHQ has something for you.

I would recommend this to anyone and I hope that more people volunteer, as it is such a wonderful thing to do.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do not be afraid to ask questions!! I made that mistake by not asking what exact items I'd need to bring to the residence, so unfortunately for the first 2 days I had no towels or body wash with me!! I had to borrow someone else's towel at first, but then luckily I had a friend in Cascais who let me borrow a towel of hers and I bought body wash. If you are unsure about absolutely anything, just ask, because the crew at IVHQ (especially in Lisbon) are super kind and accommodating.
22 people found this review helpful.
Cecilia
7/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Marine Conservation Volunteer Dive Project in Lisbon - Portugal

This has been a great experience, overall-- the people that I met, the places that I've visited, learning how to scuba dive, picking up litter in the ocean, has all been very positive. However, I do feel the program's primary focus was Diving and less on Environment/Conservation. I would say it was 80% diving, 20% conservation. Some days when the visibility was poor or there wasn't much litter to pick up, it felt like we were doing the environment more harm than good (when you factored in boat fuel, the commute, etc. We definitely didn't make up our carbon footprint). So I think the program needs to reset and re-evaluate the purpose of the program and really think about how they can make an actual impact on the environment.
If you are looking to get your scuba diving certification, I would advise that you spend at least two weeks with the program. Sometimes dives get cancelled due to the temperament of the waters (low visibility, strong tides, etc.) so you run the risk of not completing the required number of dives in order to get your Open Water certification. Plus, you will not have time to do the marine litter pick ups so I would recommend two week minimum for new divers.
Portugal is a beautiful country and I can see why Lisbon is such a popular tourist destination (particularly) with Millennials. It's less expensive than other western European cities and Lisbon has a great food and wine culture. Not to mention, Lisbon and Cascais (where you will be diving) is quite beautiful. I just wish there was more focus on Marine Conservation. Perhaps they will listen to this feedback and provide a better Environment/Conservation experience for future volunteers.

What would you improve about this program?
Although the program was a great experience, overall, I did feel like it lacked impact from an environmental/conservation point of view. The diving spots we would go to were pretty clean, thanks to years of litter pick up from previous volunteers. While that's a positive thing, the program needs to find other places to dive where there's actual litter (and we all know there's plenty of litter to be found the ocean). And if they can't venture to new spots (due to permit issues or whatever the reason might be) then they should focus on litter pick ups on the surface of the ocean and litter picks on beaches and the shore (since they will eventually end up in the ocean). Also, they should've provided education to the volunteers on the marine/bio eco systems and observing/identifying fish and collection of data, something that other environmental marine programs provide.
21 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Josephine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience with IVHQ

My experience with IVHQ was fantastic and very rewarding. I took part in the marine conservation project in Lisbon, portugal and I thoroughly enjoyed my month there. The support I received in the lead up to my departure, in country support and even post program congratulations made me feel very at ease in knowing I had chosen the best program and volunteer community. IVHQ allowed me to make lifelong friends as well as interact with locals in the community. THe dive centre we were working with was amazing and had very considerate, personable and professional dive staff. The hostel staff cooked amazing food and made us all feel like the impact house was our home away from home. Without a doubt I would take part in an IVHQ volunteering trip again as I came away feeling I had grown as a person while having the time of my life!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Arriving in a foreign country by myself! But the team made me feel so comfortable and at ease and the other volunteers were so friendly, I immediately felt comfortable.
21 people found this review helpful.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Josephine, thanks for your review. I'm glad to hear you had a rewarding experience in Portugal. The contribution you made to the Marine Conservation project is greatly appreciated. We look forward to having you volunteer with IVHQ again soon. ^Sean - IVHQ Portugal Program Manager

Questions & Answers