Volunteer in Europe

Find life-changing adventures on European shores.

The kiss of the sun. The scent of the sea. The sand between your fingers. Whether you’re monitoring elusive whales across the Atlantic in the Spanish Canary Islands, or helping turtle hatchlings find their way to the water for the first time on a Grecian beach, you’ll never be far away from witnessing – and directly contributing to the welfare and preservation of – some of our most precious marine life.

Overview

Are you looking for a unique and meaningful way to explore Europe while making a positive impact on the environment? We’ve got you. At GVI, we’re dedicated to the conservation and protection of the world’s most precious ecosystems and marine life. As a volunteer in Europe, you have the unique opportunity to contribute to meaningful projects, experience new places and see life from a totally different perspective. 

Joining one of our volunteering in Europe programs means you have the chance to work alongside marine biologists, ecologists,and conservationists while exploring the stunning beaches and biodiverse shores of Tenerife and Greece – two of the most significant biodiversity hotspots along the European and Mediterranean coasts. 

Our volunteers also work closely with marine life such as sea turtles, dolphins and whales, and actively contribute to their preservation. You will support GVI’s expert partners – made up of local communities, NGOs and scientists – to ensure that your program has a positive lasting impact on the environment and local people.

Our programs

Volunteering
Volunteer with Turtles in Greece and Conserve Natural Habitats
Under 18
Dolphin and Whale Conservation Teen Volunteering in the Canary Islands
Volunteering
Whale and Dolphin Conservation in the Canary Islands
Internship
Turtle and Marine Conservation Internship in Greece
Under 18
Sea Turtle and Marine Conservation Teen Volunteering in Greece
Volunteering
Citizen Science Island Conservation in Tenerife
Internship
Marine Biology Internship in the Canary Islands
Research Fellowship
Marine Conservation Research Fellowship in Tenerife
Volunteering
Sustainable and Ethical Ecotourism in Tenerife
Volunteering
Marine Biology Research and Conservation in the Canary Islands
Included in your program, at no extra cost

Make the most of our unique programs with these exclusively curated local adventure and wellness experiences.

Offered once a month, expand your adventure with GVI Experiences. These are just some of the activities offered on your program!
Discover traditional Greek coffee and cookies
Discover traditional Greek coffee and cookies
Coastal hike to Ai Helis Beach
Coastal hike to Ai Helis Beach
Learn essential Greek words from a local Greek speaker
Learn essential Greek words from a local Greek speaker
Learn about Greek star mythology
Learn about Greek star mythology
Explore Italian ruins from WW2
Explore Italian ruins from WW2
Birdwatching and nature walk in Mount Ainos National Park
Birdwatching and nature walk in Mount Ainos National Park
Olive oil tour and tasting
Olive oil tour and tasting
Visit the lighthouse of St. Theodore
Visit the lighthouse of St. Theodore
Location

Europe is home to some of the world’s most beautiful coastlines and oceans, but it’s also a place where marine conservation is more critical than ever. Volunteering in Europe gives you the opportunity to get involved in a wide range of activities and contribute to the protection of vulnerable marine species. 

GVI has two research stations to volunteer with in Europe:

Canary Islands, Spain

GVI Tenerife, located in the sunny Spanish Canary Islands, offers volunteers the chance to monitor and study a variety of marine life – including whales, dolphins and turtles. In your downtime, go with your new friends to immerse yourselves in Spanish culture, try local foodie spots and explore the stunning natural landscapes of Tenerife – diving and hiking are big here!

Greece

Greece is a hotspot for travellers, and Kefalonia Island is no exception. Situated off the western coast of mainland Greece, this captivating island offers everything from pristine beaches to ancient ruins and lush Mount Ainos National Park.

We’ve got two volunteer programs based here: one in Skala village focusing on sea turtle conservation, and another in Argostoli town specifically for under-18s.

Species

GVI’s volunteer programs in Europe focus on the following species:

Volunteer in Tenerife to focus on dolphins and whales 

Work alongside experienced marine biologists to monitor the populations of these intelligent and fascinating creatures. You’ll learn how to identify different species and how to record data on their behaviour and movements.

There are up to 28 different species of marine life in the area, including:

 

  • Bottlenose dolphins
  • Pilot whales
  • Humpback whales
  • Blue whales
  • Killer whales

 

Volunteer in Greece to focus on sea turtles

Volunteers assist our local conservation partner in Greece to protect endangered loggerhead turtle nesting sites, monitor turtle populations and assist with research efforts. 

For teen volunteers on our sea turtle and marine conservation volunteer program in Argostoli, this is a unique opportunity to witness baby turtles hatching and making their way to the sea for the first time.

FAQs

Can I go to Europe as a volunteer?

Absolutely! Volunteering in Europe is a fantastic way to experience the diverse culture and stunning scenery while making a difference. GVI offers a range of volunteer programs in Europe, including marine conservation projects in Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain and Greece. By joining one of our programs, you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside like-minded individuals and contribute to important conservation efforts, while gaining new skills and insights. 

Our approach to impact is rigorous, aligned to international reporting frameworks and the UN SDGs. We also have a dedicated safety and support team who guide you through the experience, pre–, during and post-travel. If you’re looking for a unique and rewarding travel experience, volunteering in Europe is definitely worth considering.

How long can I volunteer in Europe?

Our volunteer programs run anywhere from 1 to 12 weeks. The length of time you can volunteer in Europe depends on the specific program and location you choose. Check our Find a Program directory for specific details on your ideal project length and requirements.

We also offer a range of internship programs, ranging from 2 to 12 weeks. Our internships in Europe allow you to dive deeper into the project work and make a more sustained, significant impact, while shorter projects offer a chance to make a meaningful contribution in a shorter period of time.

How old do I have to be to volunteer in Europe?

At GVI, we believe that everyone has a role to play in making the world a better place. That’s why there is no age limit to join our volunteer projects. Whether you’re a retiree looking for a new adventure, a gap-year student seeking meaningful experiences, or someone who wants to give back to the world, you’re welcome. In fact, our oldest participant to date was 80 years young!

We do, however, have a minimum age requirement of 18 for most of our projects. But we also have special projects designed specifically for 15–17 year olds, with extra measures in place to ensure your safety and well-being. These measures include risk assessments, safeguarding policies and 24/7 emergency support.

We also offer family programs for those aged 14+ when accompanied by a guardian. At GVI, we believe that volunteering should be accessible to everyone, regardless of age, and we strive to create a diverse and inclusive community of volunteers from all walks of life.