Volunteer programs in Portugal

About Portugal

About Portugal

Portugal has a surface area of 92,090 km² distributed among 18 different districts, with a total population of 10,295,909 people. It borders Spain to the north and east, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the south and west. In the Atlantic Ocean, it includes two island groups: Madeira and the Azores.

Over the last 3,000 years, Portugal has been inhabited by diverse cultures, and as a result, its cultural diversity permeates the country’s heritage.

Portugal’s climate

The climate of Portugal is a Mediterranean climate with four seasons throughout the year. In the inland areas, the average annual temperature is 13º, while on the coast, it’s 18º. During the months of July and August, temperatures rise to, in some cases, 40º.

Portugal has seven biosphere reserves, and more than 86,581 hectares are protected as wetlands of significant international importance.


Time zone

Portugal is typically in the Western European Time (WET) zone, which is UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). However, during the summer months from late March to late October, it shifts to Western European Summer Time (WEST), which is UTC+1 (Coordinated Universal Time plus one hour).


The official currency is the Euro.


Volunteer programs s are located in Lisbon or in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, as well as in Porto.


For projects starting on a Sunday, the stay will end on a Saturday. Volunteers wishing to stay overnight on Saturday will incur an additional cost of 35 euros


The meals included in the project will be provided in the accommodation. The travel to the destination, excursions undertaken by the volunteers, etc. are not included in the meal plan.

Pick up times

The specified pick-up times for each destination/project must be respected. Volunteers arriving outside the designated pick-up time/day will be charged an extra fee depending on the destination.

VOLUNTEER programs

Where are the volunteer programs located?

Volunteer programs s are located in Lisbon or in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, as well as in Porto.


  • Food Rescue volunteer program
  • Marine Conservation volunteer program
  • Forest Conservation Volunteer program
  • Support program for homeless people
  • Teaching volunteer program
  • Animal Conservation volunteer program

Requirements and Cost

  • Volunteers must be older than 18 at the start of the volunteer program.

  • The costs of volunteering are 914€ for the first week, then the weekly price is reduced by more than 2/3. You can see all the costs in the Program Costs section.

What is included?


For the execution of the programs in Lisbon, the volunteers will have to arrive at the Lisbon Airport (Humberto Delgado – LIS) and the arrival day is Sunday. For the programs in Porto, the pickup airport will be the Porto International Airport, and the arrival day will be the first and third Sunday of each month.

Transport in Portugal



Lisbon subway is known for being beautiful and practical. It connects the surrounding neighborhoods with the city-center.


It is one of the most useful means of transport to go around the city. Additionally, it is key in the history of the city because it is one of its tourist attractions. Lisbon has 58 trams and around 40 are the original ones.


Lisbon has 758 buses with 88 different routes. During the day, there are 77 routs that operate from 6 am to 9 pm, and during the night there are 11 lines.


Mostly funiculars are the ones that make daily life easier, as they greatly facilitate the uphill climbs of Lisbon’s long and steep slopes. There are 3 of them: Lavra Funicular, Gloria Funicular, and Bica Funicular.

The 7 Colinas Card is a rechargeable magnetic card that allows you to get discounts on all transport in Lisbon.



The metro communicates very well throughout the city and its outskirts. The metro is mostly on the surface, and another part is underground. The price of a ticket varies depending on the journey but has an average cost of around 1.45€.


There are 3 routes that continue to follow their traditional paths, two of them through the city center, and one towards the outskirts. There are different types of tickets, depending on whether you are a visitor and want to enjoy a ride on a tourist tram or if you want the opportunity to take the tram multiple times throughout a day.


It is a less practical but very useful network for those areas that do not have a metro station. A single trip usually costs 1.90€.


There is the option to call by phone and request a taxi or go to the Taxi Stands (taxi stops).

There are other methods such as the Andante Card, Douro River cruises, tourist buses, Gaia cable car, Uber, etc.

Tourist attractions in Portugal

  • Cabo da Roca: Located at the westernmost point of Continental Portugal, jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, it is situated in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, in the district of Lisbon, about 40 km away. It stands at an elevation of around 140 meters above sea level. It is an iconic and beautiful place, dominated by a lighthouse at the top of the cliff.
  • The Dom Luis I Bridge: It connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia. This bridge spans the Douro River. It is one of the most recognized architectural landmarks of Portugal. It has 2 levels, one situated at 390 meters above the river level and another at 174 meters.
  • Sintra: A village just over half an hour from Lisbon. It is a dreamy place. It is the second-largest municipality in all of Portugal. In the last 10 years, it has experienced significant growth, divided into 11 parishes (zones). It is an area with abundant nature and is also home to two well-known palaces: Pena Palace and Montserrate Palace.


Three meals a day are offered. Portugal is characterized by its mediterranean gastronomy.

Program goals

The objective of the project is to train young people to be social leaders. The volunteers live in a multicultural environment, work as a team to develop tasks or institutional projects, accompany the beneficiaries in their daily lives or through workshops, and collaborate with the needs of the centers and homes.

To achieve this, we work on three approaches

Social inclusion

Social Inclusion of children, young people and grandparents in situations of social risk.

Attention to Centers and Homes

Attention to Centers and Homes for the protection and restitution of rights of socially vulnerable children, adolescents and older adults.

Social action

Social Action The volunteers committed to the project will work alongside the community, involving different actors in society and allowing the full fulfillment of the rights of all people.

Our programs

Food Rescue Volunteer Program – Portugal

Located in the heart of Lisbon, the project aims to minimize food waste. As a volunteer, you will be collecting surplus food from restaurants, bars, cafes, and other businesses to distribute it among families with very limited resources, elderly individuals, and homeless people.

This program intends to continue supporting the feeding of homeless people, currently providing this aid to about 3,000 people per day. Additionally, it helps prevent the disposal of hundreds of kilograms of perfectly good food.

A typical day in the program:

The day starts at 8 in the morning with breakfast, followed by free time until 1 pm when lunch is served. After lunch, there are a few hours of rest to digest the food, and then around 6 pm, volunteers will go to the food rescue project, where they will share experiences with other volunteers.

At 9 pm, dinner will be served at the accommodation, following the completion of the project.

Please note that the schedule may vary depending on the program’s shift.

Location: Lisbon

Duration: between 1 and 12 weeks

Forest Conservation Program – Portugal

The Program takes place in the Sintra Natural Park, in Lisbon. Its goal is to develop projects that promote the recovery of certain areas. The different initiatives aim to restore native forests and their species, and they seek to involve the community to achieve this. One of the foundations of the project is to raise awareness about the importance of forests and natural parks, as well as inform about their main functions: soil erosion control, carbon sequestration, air pollutant filtration, raw material production, etc.

The volunteer will perform various field tasks, including applying techniques to control invasive species, planting different species using various methodologies, maintaining planted areas, protecting specific biodiversity, managing pedestrian trails, etc.

Once a month, excursions outside the city are organized, lasting between 2 and 5 days. These excursions are at the national level and are motivated by “unforeseen” global needs that require assistance.

A typical day in the Program:

The day starts around 7 in the morning with a delicious breakfast. During the morning or afternoon (depending on the shift when project assistance is needed), the volunteer can explore Lisbon and wander around. Lunch is served at 13:30, and volunteers enjoy Mediterranean cuisine together.

Volunteers take public transportation from the accommodation to the project site. The San Irtra Park is about 1 hour away from the accommodation.

*The volunteer program may last for about 3 hours in the morning or 4 to 5 hours in the afternoon, depending on the current needs.

Location: Sintra Natural Park, Lisbon

Duration: between 2 and 12 weeks

* Important: programs will be closed from the 17th December to 2nd January and from 1st July to 18th July.

Animals Conservation Volunteer Program – Portugal

In this project, you will have the opportunity to directly contribute to the conservation of wild animals in the countryside. You will care for, feed, and protect different species such as deer, wild boars, eagles, lynxes, Iberian wolves, European otters, and even brown bears.

Volunteers in this project will have the chance to support a biological park that, in addition to its environmental impact, also integrates people with disabilities at the local level. The wild animals at the park are rescued from zoos, private owners, and other situations where they were mistreated.

Alongside the local staff, you will assist in most tasks related to the conservation of wild animals. You will also help take care of horses and oxen on the farm, as well as ducks, pigs, chickens, and others. Tasks include observing their behavior, conserving the forest, maintaining the habitat, feeding, among many other duties depending on the season.

The responsible organization is a social organization with a mission to contribute to local development and combat poverty by supporting and integrating people with disabilities. This organization plays a crucial role in the local community, and 43% of its staff are people with some form of disability or chronic illness.

This program is accessible to everyone but requires a certain level of physical fitness. If you join the program in winter, be prepared for lower temperatures ranging from 5-15°C and bring warm clothing. If you plan to come during the summer, when temperatures range from 25-38°C, comfortable and light clothing is recommended.

Location: Porto

Duration: 1 to 12 weeks.

Marine Conservation Volunteer Program – Portugal

This program is perfect for volunteers who have a passion for the sea, ocean conservation, and diving. Volunteers will join a dedicated diving school focused on environmental protection, where they will dive into Portuguese waters to help clean the seabed. This hands-on experience will provide insight into the ecosystem of the southern coast of Portugal, conservation methods, and the current state of the environment.

Volunteers, regardless of their diving experience, will receive comprehensive training in marine conservation. The program welcomes beginners (starting with Open Water Diver Certification) and more experienced divers (beginning with Advanced Open Water Diver Certification).

A typical day in the program:

A typical day starts with breakfast at 8 am at the volunteer house, followed by a morning dive in the Atlantic Ocean at 9 am. Lunch is served at 2 pm, and volunteers have the afternoon free to explore the city and enjoy the wonders of the Atlantic Ocean.

* Please note that schedules may vary due to changing needs and weather conditions.

Location: Lisbon

Duration: between 1 and 4 weeks

* Important: programs will be closed from November to February.

Support Program for Homeless People – Portugal

In Portugal, the social gap is really visible, mainly after the two last economic crisis. This is why poverty is more visible everyday in cities such as Lisbon.

The program is carried out in Lisbon, alongside a non-profit organization that has as an objective to decrease disparities and poverty.

The centre where the volunteer will work gives shelter to homeless people, with addiction to drugs. It is supposed to minimize the risks that addiction generates.

The volunteer will provide support in the area that needs the most assistance at any given time: cooking, preparing, and distributing food; organizing recreational and sports activities; assisting in the proper maintenance and management of the center; managing clothing donations and collections; participating in educational activities or therapies, and more.

A typical day in the Program:

The day starts with breakfast at 8 in the morning. Volunteers will have the entire morning free to relax, do tourism, wander around, etc. Lunch is served at 12:30 at the accommodation. Afterward, volunteers will have a few hours to recharge, and at 4 pm, the volunteer program begins, which is located very close to the accommodation.

Location: Lisbon

Duration: between 1 and 12 weeks

accommodation and meals

For the programs in Lisbon

The accommodation is a social hostel located in Lisbon, near the programs. Volunteers will stay in shared bedrooms.

*There exists the possibility of having private bedrooms, with an extra cost.

In both cases

The meals provided consist of three meals a day, every day of the week: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The type of food that volunteers will enjoy will be of typically Portuguese style, allowing them to get closer to the culture and its flavors! It will be a typical Mediterranean cuisine, usually served in three courses (appetizer, main dish, and dessert) based on olive oil, wine, and bread.

Volunteers can request vegetarian, gluten-free, and lactose-free meals if needed.

For the programs in Porto

Accommodation in a shared bedroom in a hostel in the city centre. It counts with two female dorms of 4 beds, or mixed dorms. The use of the common rooms is shared and there is free wifi.

program costs

The total cost is divided into two parts: the registration fee, which is paid to book your spot (210€) and the program fee that is paid afterward.

Programs in Lisbon

Food Rescue Program, Forest Conservation Program, and Support Program for Homeless People 

First week: 824 €
Additional week: 330 €

Marine Conservation Program

1 week: 1249 €
2 weeks: 2099 €
3 weeks: 2949 €
4 weeks: 3799 €
5 weeks: 4649 €
6 weeks: 5499 €
7 weeks: 6349 €
8 weeks: 7199 €

Programs in Porto

Food Rescue Program

First week: 849 €
Additional weeks: 275 €

Animal Conservation Program

Two weeks 1124 €
Additional week 275 €

If your currency is not specified in the table, you can convert your costs  here.

What is included in the fee that I am paying?

What additional costs will volunteers have?

Flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccination (if required), return transfer to the airport from the program, transport between the accommodation and the location of the project (if required), other personal expenses.


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Our volunteers will be able to validate university credits with the aim of traveling in a more responsible and economical way.

What does volunteering focused on university practices involve?

At Cooperating Volunteers, we make agreements with different universities to validate university credits with the aim of traveling in a more responsible and economical way.

The specialties we work with are extensive: medical volunteering, nursing, education, social work, psychology, physiotherapy, engineering, architecture…

The practices can be carried out in our designated destinations for this purpose, as well as in Spain.

If you choose an international destination, it’s a unique way to live an unforgettable and enriching experience, as you will have the opportunity to continue your education in another country, with a completely different culture.

Stepping out of our comfort zone and being part of the various projects at the destination will allow us to grow both personally and professionally, creating a more extensive curriculum.

And we are fully convinced that this experience will accompany you throughout your life.

You will be able to visit hospitals, schools, centers, orphanages, and participate directly and actively in the daily lives of all those people at the destination, always accompanied by other professionals willing to collaborate hand in hand with you and guide you in daily tasks.

If your university is not part of the agreement with Cooperating Volunteers, you can contact cristina@cooperatingvolunteers.com so that we can get in touch and make this experience a reality. 


Corporate volunteering consists of tailored programs for your company, designed to develop teamwork skills.

It is proven that teamwork directly impacts productivity. 

Collective effort surpasses individual capabilities, promotes diversity of skills, stimulates creativity, and facilitates problem-solving in the face of various challenges.

Therefore, it not only maximizes efficiency but also enriches the work environment.

We conduct corporate volunteering programs that consist of customized programs for your company, designed to develop teamwork skills, improve performance, and foster unity among employees.

We tailor projects to the corporate identity and size of the company, and we can adjust them to any destination and time of the year.

The advantages of corporate volunteering include:

  • Improving communication.
  • Group unity.
  • Cultural integration in different situations.
  • Employee training.
  • Increased Corporate Social Responsibility.

The future is aligned with a more responsible society, and participating in social projects positions our company among the list of revolutionary businesses that want to be part of the change.

If you resonate with this message, corporate volunteering is a unique experience both individually and collectively, and at Cooperating Volunteers, we accompany you throughout the process to make it a unique journey.


Quality time spent with family strengthens emotional bonds, promotes communication, and contributes to the emotional well-being of its members. 

Spending quality time with family and being able to disconnect from our hectic routines is not only enriching but also necessary.

Sometimes we forget to communicate, connect, and dedicate time to each other. Each one of us lives focused on our jobs, schools… And it’s necessary to find the opportunity to pause and take care of ourselves.

Quality time spent with family strengthens emotional bonds, promotes communication, and contributes to the emotional well-being of its members. And of course, it creates lifelong positive memories.

At Cooperating Volunteers, we suggest moving away from those ‘more superficial’ trips (which can also be fantastic), but we invite you to live this experience to bring out our most empathetic and humanitarian side.

Family volunteering gives us the opportunity to be part of a positive impact, promoting values of solidarity and social responsibility.

There are many families who choose to experience these trips focused on cooperation and direct involvement with different communities around the world, where living conditions are very different and sometimes entirely precarious.

Projects are tailored to different ages, allowing us to work together.

An incredible way to fill our suitcase with memories, learning, and knowledge.

And although stepping out of our comfort zone often feels daunting, we assure you firsthand that it’s worth it.

At Cooperating Volunteers, we accompany you throughout the entire experience, from start to finish, to make it unforgettable.


At Cooperating Volunteers, we believe it’s never too late for anything, especially for volunteering and living a unique and unforgettable experience.

There are many people, increasingly so, who opt for responsible travel that involves social work.

Accustomed to organized and mostly touristic trips, at Cooperating Volunteers, we want to advocate for a more enriching experience, one that transforms us from within and allows us to be part of the change the world needs to see.

We can adapt both the destination and the duration of our projects to fit your needs.

It’s an opportunity full of emotions that allows us to significantly contribute to different communities and their evolution. And you can participate in different areas such as education, social support, or assistance in different centers.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Sense of purpose: Provides a sense of purpose by contributing your skills and experiences to meaningful causes.
  • Emotional well-being: Reduces feelings of isolation and establishes social connections.
  • Personal development: It’s continuous learning, skill development, and discovering new activities while keeping the mind-body active.
  • Physical health: Keeping active.
  • Stress reduction: The act of helping others reduces stress and contributes to mental health.

Living this experience will undoubtedly be a before and after. 


A volunteering initiative with leadership and impact through the educational action program.

When we talk about social volunteering, we refer to all those actions and activities carried out altruistically, selflessly, and with the aim of addressing multiple problems and needs of different communities, always focused on education and self-sufficiency.

Education is essential because it provides the tools and knowledge necessary for personal, social, and economic development.

Our goal is to create self-sufficient communities and provide opportunities for the future personal development of each member. The message is not to ‘give’, but to accompany in the process of training for self-managed provision.

At Cooperating Volunteers, many of our destinations and projects embrace this type of volunteering. Some of our projects include: community programs, education, women’s empowerment…

And although they are completely different from each other, they share a single objective: progress towards a society that can embrace us all in the same way.

If you are someone who is restless, who needs to see a change in the future, volunteering is an experience tailor-made for you.