What Are the Best Volunteer Programmes in Europe?

Each year, thousands of people travel to Europe to take part in volunteer programmes across the continent. As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, more travellers can visit their chosen country to volunteer in activities like teaching, conservation, childcare, construction or working with animals. We’ve found the best volunteer programmes in Europe, so you can see the world whilst also contributing to the community.

Marine conservation in Spain

It’s predicted that by 2025, there could be more plastic than fish in the sea. This conservation project offers volunteers the opportunity to contribute to clean-up efforts to reduce ocean pollution in the Mediterranean Sea and help protect the marine environment, all whilst gaining extensive scuba diving and conservation experience.

As a volunteer in this programme, you’ll collect trash from the sea, learn about the marine ecosystem and how to protect it, observe and identify marine wildlife, and in the summer you can help children from disadvantaged backgrounds learn to dive and protect the environment. You’ll stay in a modern, environmentally conscious hostel in Barcelona with like-minded individuals.

You won’t need to have prior scuba diving experience and you can attain a dive certification as part of the programme, so you can safely take part in all activities.

Find out more here.

Caring for bears in Romania

For many years in Romania, bears were hunted for trophies or forced to entertain strangers in the street or circus. These bears were kept in cramped conditions and often abused by their owners. However, the bears are now being rescued and cared for in Europe’s largest bear sanctuary.

Over 100 bears now live at the sanctuary. As a volunteer, you’ll help with food preparation, and observe the bears to ensure they’re adapting well to their new surroundings. You’ll help keep the sanctuary to standard with basic maintenance work, and you’ll also look after the other rescued animals that live at the sanctuary, such as dogs, horses and donkeys. Whilst you’ll be expected to work hard, you’ll also have plenty of time to just enjoy watching the bears in their habitats.

Find out more here.

Teaching English to young people in Poland

Since 1990, Global Volunteers has been helping young people in Poland learn English – the language of the world’s marketplace. You can be part of this important project to teach conversational English in school classrooms or summer camps. You’ll stay in safe and comfortable rural accommodation and have the opportunity to taste authentic Polish cuisine.

You do not need to have any formal teaching experience to take part in this programme, as the children learn through exposure to the language with native speakers. Groups and families are easily accommodated and welcomed on to the programme.

Find out more here.

Creative Technology in Croatia

With this project, you can employ your existing skills in web development, graphic design, photography, videography, marketing and digital communications to help local NGOs in Split design and implement campaigns. Currently, these NGOs cover a range of issues, including women’s rights, gender equality, marine conservation, environmental issues and animal protection.

By participating in this project, you can help increase the reach and exposure of these important campaigns and encourage the local community to take action. At the same time, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Croatian culture and explore the beautiful Adriatic coast.

You’ll need to have proven skills, training or experience in this field, so make sure to include all relevant qualifications on your application.

Find out more here.

After-school care in Italy

In areas of Naples, young children often spend their free time on the streets, with no adult supervision or constructive entertainment. This project gives volunteers the opportunity to organise and run educational workshops and activities for these children outside of school hours. You’ll help give them positive alternatives to spending their time on the streets, whilst also teaching them life skills and building on their education.

The workshops you run might include music, art, cooking, as well as sports and games. Whilst some resources will be available, you’ll be using your initiative to creatively arrange the activities to successfully engage the children. You’ll also have the chance to practice your Italian and fully experience Italian culture.

No prior teaching experience is necessary, as you’ll be working alongside local placement staff.

Find out more here.


There are a huge number of volunteer programmes available across Europe, so you’ll be able to find a project that suits you. Once you’ve found your programme, find out what you need to volunteer abroad.

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