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
Whale and Dolphin Conservation in the Canary Islands
Under 18
Dolphin and Whale Conservation Teen Volunteering in the Canary Islands
Under 18
Sea Turtle And Marine Conservation Teen Volunteering In Greece
Volunteering
Volunteer with Turtles 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 & Ethical Ecotourism in Tenerife
Volunteering
Marine Biology Research and Conservation in the Canary Islands
Internship
Sea Turtle Conservation Internship in Greece
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!
Learn to make delicious Canarian dishes
Learn to make delicious Canarian dishes
Tour Old Town Tenerife's 15th century port
Tour Old Town Tenerife's 15th century port
Learn about the our galaxy
Learn about the our galaxy
Bike across an active volcano
Bike across an active volcano
Kayak and snorkel in paradise
Kayak and snorkel in paradise
Hike prehistorical micro-climates and laurel forests
Hike prehistorical micro-climates and laurel forests
Cable car up an active volcano
Cable car up an active volcano
Explore an ancient tropical forest
Explore an ancient tropical forest
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 bases 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 friend 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

Based a stone’s throw from Giannitsochori, a Greek village steeped in history and housing fascinating ancient ruins, this program is the perfect place to get involved with sea turtle conservation efforts. GVI’s Greece volunteer program focuses on conserving the endangered loggerhead turtles that nest on the beaches of Giannitsochori. You will work in support of our renowned partner, ARCHELON – The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, to protect and monitor nesting sites, conduct beach cleanups, and help raise awareness about the importance of turtle conservation. Spending your free time on white beaches in the sunshine with newfound friends is an excellent addition to your itinerary!

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. 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 one 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 four 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.