Most Affordable & Top Rated Volunteer Programs in Portugal from $455 with IVHQ

Video and Photos

1st VL 2018
1st VL 2018
Missing these two
Missing these two

About

Trusted by 110,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer programs in Portugal and 50+ other destinations around the world.

In Portugal, you can volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks and choose from 5 volunteer project options in Portugal:
- Youth Support
- Homeless Support
- Wolf Conservation
- Food Rescue

Your Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in a hostel, with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers every year, so before you even depart for Portugal, you’ll receive outstanding personalized service from your expert Volunteer Program Manager and exclusive access to superior pre-departure volunteer training.

With IVHQ, you can expect to establish real connections within the local community while supporting projects that make a genuine difference.

Highlights
  • IVHQ’s Portugal program is available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday of every month
  • Highly affordable program fees starting from $375 - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • You’ll be joining between 5 and 20 other IVHQ volunteers who start in Portugal each month
  • You’ll be traveling with IVHQ, the volunteer travel experts, and joining a network of 110,000+ volunteers. Our outstanding safety systems and track record set us apart, we are the world’s safest organization
  • Your efforts will have a positive impact because our programs are community-driven with a focus on supporting long-term local needs

Popular Programs

The Construction and Renovation project aims to directly assist people living in poverty by repairing houses and community associations. Volunteer tasks include stripping and preparing walls prior to repairing, painting and decorating, installing bathrooms, water and electricity, as well as fixing roofs, floors and ceilings. Volunteers are encouraged to get to know and build relationships with the individuals benefiting from the work as many of them also contribute and assist in the work.

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. Volunteer tasks can include cleaning rubbish on the sea floor and logging information on items collected, learning more about the marine ecosystem and how to protect it, observing and identifying fish, collecting data on fish numbers, and more.

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.

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.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 32 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 32
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.
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.
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
Tanmay
10/10
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.
Default avatar
Nastya
9/10
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

Highlights:
• 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!

Obrigado!

Default avatar
Kami
9/10
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.
Default avatar
Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The trip of a lifetime!

This was the trip of a lifetime and one I will certainly remember forever. I participated in the marine conservation program out of Lisbon in Cascais. The local team and diving school were incredibly helpful, approachable and fun! If I could, I would participate in this program again and again. Thank you IVHQ for making this opportunity a possibility. I was able to learn so much while also making a positive impact on the environment. I fell in love with Portugal for its culture, art, food, and people. The beautiful tile building and the many areas of graffiti art are a must see. There is so much to do and see, from castles to beaches, I could have spent months there and not gotten tired of it. A memorable moment was a sailing boat cruise overlooking the infamous bridge! My favorite trip so far.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I ate octopus (many times) and it was seriously amazing! Also, try the custard tarts :)
Valy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable

Amazing experience! Broadening your horizons, getting international perspectives and travelling with a real impact, ideal if you want to make the most our of your holidays, in a way that you feel safe, supported, engaged and empowered to make a difference. The local team was awesome and they infused us with such an enthusiasm, which we could therefore afterwards use Inoue placements, especially when handling unfamiliar situations. An important thing to note is that the program is suited for solo travelers, you will meet people from all over the world, which will help you expand not only your knowledge, but also your way of thinking. Preferably for at least two weeks, since one week is a bit short. Such a fun, interesting, challenging, exciting experience, that will stay with me a lot later after it is over.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go with an opens mind and open heart, embrace any challenges and enjoy!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for leaving a review, Valy! I'm glad to hear the program exceeded your expectations and I hope you will join us again in the near future :) - Meika - IVHQ Program Manager

Default avatar
Jesus
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

volunteering with IVHQ a dream come true

My experience with the IVHQ was more than perfect! The support was awesome since the very beginning, they were there every step of the way, and they helped me make this dream come true.
After the application they helped me to get ready to go, and once I was at Portugal they keep in touch to know if everything was fine, if I was feeling good or if I needed anything. But everything was perfect!
I still feel like everything was just a dream but no it wasn’t, it was real! And I can’t wait to go on my next adventure with the IVHQ! This was my first time traveling by my self and now I can’t wait to go alone again! I have a new family that I will never forget! And that’s my IVHQ family!
The placement was really comfortable and the staff was super nice and they were always worried about me and the others volunteers.
actually i got sick and they took care of me really good and i felt like home since the airport pick up. I was scared before I left home, I was scared on the airplane but when a I saw the impact trip guy ,Jorge, smiling at me I was not scared anymore.
So I highly recomend the IVHQ, and I really invite everyone to go to Portugal! Because the impact trip staff was the nicest people I¨ve ever meet.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
the only thing I would change of my trip is how long I stayed there, I wish I stayed longer! a month was ot enough and I am not done with Portugal yet, thinking of coming back next year and stay for a bit longer