• Portugal
    • Lisbon
1 to 12 weeks

Program Details

Short Term Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Guesthouse Hostel
Travel Type
Budget Family Senior Travelers Solo Women


Starting Price
$455 USD
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
Aug 22, 2021

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.

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

9.74 Rating
based on 35 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 97.14%
  • 7-8 rating 2.86%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 35 reviews
Default avatar
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
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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.
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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.
8 people found this review helpful.
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.
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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.
8 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

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable Trip!

Volunteering with IVHQ in Portugal was one of the most rewarding experience. The trip truly exceeded my expectations. From the application to the completion of my project, it was smooth sailing. I always got required support from both IVHQ and their local counterpart ImpactTrip in Portugal. The local team in Portugal is so friendly and always goes one step further to help out and makes sure you are comfortable. They helped me plan and book my local trips/activities with great zeal. I throughly enjoyed my stay at the ImpactHouse. Best part of the trip was meeting with the incredible volunteers and friendly and helpful local team. I hope these friendships get stronger by time. Another highlight of the trip was delicious food at the ImpactHouse. I am not exaggerating when I say it was one of the best foods have I had. :) I would highly recommend volunteering with IVHQ and the local team in Portugal. Thank you IVHQ and ImpactTrip for the wonderful experience!

What would you improve about this program?
The program is very well designed. I would not change anything.
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Charming winds of Portugal

I spent a week in Lisbon on a youth support program which was a magical experience
Be ready:
• There are a lot of hills - take only comfortable clothes
• People don't really speak English so it would be a great idea to learn a couple of useful phrases
Locals especially appreciate when strangers try to speak their language
Also, If you know italian/french/spanish/brazilian you'll have an adventage
• We lived ten people in a room
• Two or four showers per floor - I found it very helpful to organize my stuff beforehand (ex, all you need to shower is in one place)
• We kept our stuff in a box under the bed -and there was one table per room
Unexpected surprises - extremely loud door which we managed to 'fix' with a towel and then with a special sticky thing for the doors
+ you may not be able to sit stright in your bed
• Tourists are not really favored
• Go for a week with the weekends minimum because there are so many places to visit
1. Cascais with amazing beaches, lagunes, and 'the mouth of hell'
2. Sintra
3. Potro
And many others
• Everything is quite cheap
• Some people were a bit freezing at night -can be a good idea to get a hoody
• Take nothing heavy!!! You get really tired walking up and down the hills under the sun with a bag on your shoulders

• We had a terrace and a little garden :з
• Recycling - the hostel definitely tried its best to be sustainable
• Sustainable shop in the hostel (take a look)
• Strong feeling of emergence into the culture
• O my god the views, it is incredible!
You just walk on the street and then BOOM, there is an edge, a roof of a house is under your feet and the ocean emerges into the sky...
• Meet a sunset at Tagus - it worth it!
• Definitely climb the Christ, the view is breath taking
Also, you can take a boat there, or a bus 753, which would be cheaper and much closer to the statue
• Locals are always happy to help
• Fruits are amazing
• The quality of food is great
• Veggie friday in the hostel - try to become a vegetarian at least once a week :D
• We had a tour with a local woman who was passionate and charismatic about her hometown
Amazing experience
• People are magical!
• Stuf was always ready to provide the best info, help, and support

Don't be a tourist, be an explorer!


11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing trip in Portugal!

My time in Lisbon, Portugal was amazing. I worked on the Food Rescue project for 3 weeks. I could tell the Refood organization I was working in was really important to the community. Although the work was not always fun, it felt really meaningful and I was happy to volunteer my time there. Outside of volunteering, I met friends from all over the world, tried amazing food, and traveled to different areas around Portugal. I saw Porto and Sintra on my weekends and both were so beautiful and different. The staff at the hostel where the volunteers stayed were also very friendly and helpful. I really liked how the theme of it was sustainability. The food provided to us was cooked fresh by the staff there and was always really good. There were options for everyone.

What would you improve about this program?
I struggled a bit to understand the locals I was working with on my project. I think more communication with the staff at Refood, IVHQ, and the volunteers would make for a more productive environment.
8 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers