Volunteer, work and travel in
Portugal

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Volunteer and work in Portugal - low cost travel abroad - Workaway!

Here at Workaway you will find 500+ hosts and organisations for volunteer work in Portugal.
Low cost travel without having to pay expensive agency fees.


Travel to regions in Portugal

Latest from our community in Portugal


Feedback from Workaway members

There are 7196 reviews for 500+ Hosts and organizations in Portugal.
500+ Hosts in Portugal were rated at least 4.9/5!

Lorenzo and I stayed at Quinta two weeks last August and we enjoyed a lot the experience: Charlie and Lucy were really lovely with us and we surely re...

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We spent a few wonderful weeks at the Quinta of Anita and Pieter and of course not to forget Domino, Ed and Gina. (the dogs)
A beautiful Quinta with s...

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My 3 weeks at the shelter were absolutely fantastic! Even though everything has already been said, a big thank you to all the staff members for their ...

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super nice, I had a great time and I met a lot of interesting kind people around this place. its felt like a small familiar community in Ferrel. the m...

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We had the most wonderful time with Sabine and Dries in Cercal. It was a great experience to live and work in their great little paradise for 2 weeks!...

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Popular Hosts and organizations in Portugal

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Portugal

From surfing to the cities, Portugal offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation that appeals to all kinds of travellers. Whether you’re on a sabbatical or gap year, backpacker or retiree, there truly is something for everyone. This includes a variety of meaningful projects and volunteer opportunities dotted all over this incredible country. Whether you prefer the vibrant cities of Lisbon and Porto or the charming villages of the Algarve, there are countless highlights and hidden gems waiting for you.


Typical Portugal

Fun Fact: Portugal is actually one of the oldest countries in Europe and has a fascinating history dating back over 800 years! This means there are plenty of historical landmarks and cultural attractions to explore, many of which are free to visit. Some of the most famous landmarks include Belém Tower, Pena National Palace, Carmo Convent and Jerónimos Monastery.

With over 900km of coastline, it’s no wonder Portugal is also famous for its stunning beaches and surfing. While most visitors flock to touristy spots such as Lisbon and The Algarve to enjoy the sights and sea, there are actually many more budget-friendly – and less crowded – destinations for those keen to head off the beaten track. This includes Alcobaça, Castelo Branco, Santarém, and Viseu.

Travelling on a budget? You’ll be relieved to hear Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, especially if you avoid the touristy route and live like a local with Workaway. Vanlife is also growing in popularity here thanks to the mild climate and low cost of living. It is one of the most affordable and exciting ways to experience this epic country.

Alternatively, for those who like a little luxury, the stunning Azores Islands are considered the Hawaii of Europe and are a destination not to be missed. Located around 850 miles west of Portugal, they are a group of nine volcanic islands that offer world-class whale watching, unbeatable views, and incredible food.

Best of all, you can make a positive impact while experiencing all that this wonderful country has to offer. Why have yet another beach holiday when you can learn new skills, make friends for life, and truly immerse yourself in a new culture? Find your perfect Portuguese host using Workaway!


Vanlife in Portugal

If you are hoping to explore Portugal on four wheels, you’re in luck. Vanlife is becoming increasingly popular due to the country’s mild climate, strong camping culture and diverse destinations.

Many people choose vanlife to save on traditional accommodation so why not find a travel buddy to split fuel costs and driving time? Or better yet, did you know many of our hosts accept volunteers with campervans? If you fancy mixing volunteering with vanlife tick the “accepts campervans” box on the accommodation filter!

Highlights for van lifers in Portugal include:

  • The Algarve – Known for its stunning beaches, rugged cliffs, and charming towns, the Algarve is a popular destination for campervan dwellers. The region has several motorhome parks and campsites, making it easy for those on four wheels to explore the area.
  • The Douro Valley – The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its picturesque vineyards and idyllic towns. The region is popular with vanlifers who want to explore the countryside and enjoy the local wines. Don’t miss the scenic Estrada Nacional 222 which links Porto and the town of Pinhão. Stretching 230km, it winds through the famous wine region and is voted one of the best drives in the world!

Travelling as Digital Nomads in Portugal

While vanlife and volunteering can help you save money while travelling, being a digital nomad means you can MAKE money while travelling. Digital nomads, or those who can travel and work from anywhere in the world, are increasingly choosing to reside in Portugal. Here’s why…

  • Affordability: Firstly, Portugal is one of the cheapest destinations for digital nomads as it has a relatively low cost of living compared to other Western European countries.
  • High standard of living: Secondly, Portugal has a high standard of living, with excellent healthcare, infrastructure, and public services. This makes it a comfortable and convenient place for digital nomads to live and work.
  • Networking Opportunities: Thirdly, Portugal has a thriving startup scene, thanks to several tech hubs as well as coworking spaces located throughout the country. This provides digital nomads with networking opportunities and the chance to collaborate with other like-minded individuals

Sounds good, huh? Check out our beginners guide to becoming a digital nomad if the remote working way of life sounds like your dream career. We also have a tonne of digital nomad tips and hacks for those who hope to make this travel trend their full-time gig.


Regional Highlights of Portugal

To help you plan your visit to Portugal, there are seven main regions. Use these regions to find the perfect base for your trip, and then browse over 1300 Workaway hosts all over the country.

Northern Portugal

If you’re a history buff or wine lover, this is the region for you. Sprawling vineyards are dotted with Celtic settlements, mediaeval castles and imposing monuments. Not forgetting the city of Porto, with its historic centre, lively atmosphere and world-renowned food and wine, it is a definite highlight of the region.

Highlights of Northern Portugal

  • Douro Valley: Located in the heart of Northern Portugal, the Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest wine regions in the world. The stunning landscapes, and historic vineyards are bucket list worthy for wine enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
  • Porto: The city of Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal and famous for its historic centre, insta-worthy streets, and iconic Port wine. Visitors can stroll along the Ribeira, sample the local cuisine, and visit the impressive Cathedral as well as the iconic Dom Luis I Bridge.
  • Peneda-Gerês National Park: If you head northwest of this region, you’ll find the rugged landscapes, crystal-clear lakes and dense forests of Peneda-Gerês National Park. Here you can go hiking, observe the local wildlife as well as swim in the refreshing waterfalls.

Central Portugal

Central Portugal has it all. From Portugal’s highest mountain peak to coastal seaside towns, the glacier valleys and pine forests in between. It’s also home to one the oldest university cities in Europe, fabulous wine-tasting routes and the birthplace of Portugal’s legendary queijo da serra cheese.

  • Coimbra: This historic university city is considered one of the most beautiful destinations in Portugal. Known for its impressive architecture, including the stunning Coimbra University and the Joanina library (one of the most beautiful in the world.) Visitors can stroll along the mediaeval streets, visit the local museums, and enjoy traditional Fado music.
  • The Serra da Estrela Natural Park: Covering an area of 101,000 hectares, The Serra da Estrela Natural Park is the largest protected region in Portugal. Often compared to the Alps, here you can reach the highest point on mainland Portugal, known as the Tower, which reaches an altitude of 1,993 metres. It is also home to the only ski slope in the country! You can’t leave the area without sampling the famous "Queijo da Serra," cheese and visiting the quaint villages of Manteigas, Sabugueiro, and Linhares da Beira.
  • Fátima: Although it is a major pilgrimage site for Catholics, Fátima is a worthwhile destination regardless of your religion. It is home to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to three shepherd children in 1917. Visitors can attend mass, explore the basilica and chapels, and learn about the history of the site.

Lisbon

As the country’s capital city, the colourful cobbled streets of Libson are a major cultural and economic centre. Beyond the city, the region is home to a range of natural attractions including the charming coastal town of Cascais, the rugged cliffs of Cabo da Roca and the stunning Sintra Mountains which are dotted with historic palaces and castles. You can’t leave the region without trying the traditional dishes like bacalhau (a seafood dish) and pastel de nata.

Highlights of The Lisbon Region

  • Lisbon: As Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon is vibrant and diverse offering a unique blend of old and new. One minute you can be admiring the iconic Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery the next sipping cocktails in trendy rooftop bars. For a night you’ll never forget, head to the lively neighbourhoods of Alfama and Bairro Alto. Alfama is known for its traditional Fado music, performed in local taverns, whereas Bairro Alto on the other hand is known for its stylish clubs and electronic music.
  • Sintra: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sintra is a picturesque town located just outside of Lisbon and is a popular day trip destination. Known for its stunning architecture, including the colourful Pena Palace and the historic Moorish Castle.
  • Cascais: This postcard perfect seaside town is located just a short train ride from Lisbon and offers visitors beautiful beaches, lively streets, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Here you can explore the historic fortresses, stroll along the promenade, and indulge in fresh seafood.
  • Cabo da Roca: The westernmost point of mainland Europe, Cabo da Roca is a rugged and scenic coastal area that also offers beautiful views. The area is also home to a historic lighthouse and a popular hiking trail.
  • Estoril: Located on the coast, this popular resort town is known for its beaches and vibrant nightlife. Highlights also include the famous historic casino (one of the biggest in Europe) and water sports such as surfing and paddleboarding.

The Alentejo Region

Now it’s time to escape the city for Portugal’s rural heartland. The Alentejo region is ideal for those who seek peace and tranquillity. Here you will find rolling sunflower fields dotted with the famous cork trees and olive groves. Thanks to picturesque mediaeval towns, fishing villages and unspoiled beaches you can expect a much slower pace of life here.

Highlights of The Alentejo Region

  • Évora: As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Évora is a historic city located in the heart of the Alentejo region. The city is known for its stunning Roman Temple, the Gothic-style Cathedral of Évora, and the Chapel of Bones - yup, a chapel made entirely of human bones!
  • Monsaraz: A mediaeval hilltop village with stunning views of the Alentejo countryside, Monsaraz is a must-visit destination in the region. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and whitewashed houses, as well as the historic castle and church.
  • Wine Country: It probably sounds like every region of Portugal is famous for wine, but the Alentejo region is known for its excellent red wine in particular. Cheers to that!
  • Costa Vicentina: Head to the western coast of the Alentejo region for sandy beaches and stunning natural beauty. Don’t miss the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, which offers visitors a range of activities, including hiking and surfing.

The Algarve

With its sunny climate, wide choice of beaches and striking natural beauty it’s no wonder the Algarve region is Portugal’s most popular destination. Although tourists flock here for the beaches, the region is also famous for its impressive rock formations, including the Bengali Cave. Golf fans should also take note, as the region boasts over 30 courses all with beautiful coastal views. Finally, the Algarve is a foodie’s paradise with a range of specialty seafood as well as sweet desserts including the renowned almond-based marzipan.

Highlights of The Algarve

  • Beaches: With over 100 miles of coastline, we cannot ignore the Algarve’s beaches. Although the Praia da Rocha and Praia do Vau beaches are considered the most beautiful, the region has a beach to suit all kinds of travellers. From secluded coves to lively resort towns, you’ll find it here.
  • Lagos: The guidebooks would describe Lagos as a charming historic town, known for its picturesque streets, historic churches, and stunning coastline which is true, but we’ll let you in on a little secret. As soon as night falls, it is the BEST place to party! Work off your hangover the next day with a boat tour of the sea caves as well as some kayaking or surfing.
  • Ria Formosa Natural Park: If you prefer wildlife to wild partying, head to the Ria Formosa. As a must-visit destination for nature lovers, you can explore the lagoons and sand dunes, as well as the various flora and fauna that call the park home.
  • Sagres: Located on the southwestern tip of the Algarve, Sagres is a popular destination for surfers and outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can explore the historic Fortaleza de Sagres, take a surfing lesson, or hike along the unique coastal trails.
  • Silves: A historic town located in the central Algarve, Silves is known for its Moorish castle, Gothic cathedral, and charming old town. Visitors can explore the historic streets, visit the local market, or take a scenic road trip through the surrounding hills.

Madeira Island

With its rugged landscape, lush forests and inviting waters it’s easy to see why the island of Madeira is a popular tourist destination. However, the island doesn’t just attract hikers, mountain bikers, bird watchers and water sports enthusiasts, it is also a popular hub for digital nomads. It is a paradise for those who love to work as well as play. The warm locals, delicious food and world famous wine will make you want to return again and again.

Highlights of Madeira

  • Funchal: The capital city of Madeira Island, Funchal is a bustling and vibrant city with a rich history and culture. Visitors can explore the historic city centre, visit the Funchal Cathedral, or take a cable car ride for stunning views of the city, surrounding coastline and terraced vineyards.
  • Levada Walks: Madeira Island is known for its unique irrigation system called the levadas. These are narrow canals that transport water from the mountains to the valleys. You can take guided walks along the levadas, which offer stunning views of the island's rugged landscape.
  • Natural Beauty: Whether you choose to sit back and admire the lush forests or hop on a mountain bike and embrace the dramatic coastline, the natural beauty is breathtaking. Visitors can explore the island's many natural parks, such as the Madeira Natural Park or the Laurisilva Forest.

The Azores islands

On the topic of natural beauty, you cannot visit Portugal without a worthwhile detour to the Azores Islands. With volcanic craters, hot springs and diverse marine life the Azores offer visitors an unrivalled opportunity to explore the region’s untouched landscape.

Highlights of The Azores

  • Natural Parks: Every corner of The Azores Islands is an example of epic natural beauty. Whether you explore Sete Cidades crater lakes, Furnas hot springs or Pico Mountain you will not be disappointed.
  • Whale and Dolphin Watching: The Azores Islands are one of the best places in the world for whale and dolphin watching. Home to over 20 different species of whale and dolphins, a boat tour around the islands is one of the best ways to admire these magnificent creatures up close.
  • Traditional Architecture: The Azores Islands are home to many charming towns and villages with traditional architecture, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira Island.

Volunteering in Portugal

Now you’re clued up on the different regions in Portugal, it’s time to get planning your trip of a lifetime. Why have yet another beach holiday when you can be part of an unforgettable cultural exchange? Learn about the unique Portuguese culture, stay with friendly locals and enjoy an authentic experience – all for less than the price of a night in a hotel room!

As the world’s leading community for volunteering and cultural exchange, Workaway is the perfect platform to connect with locals in Portugal. Whether you are a solo backpacker trying to find a travel buddy, recently retired or setting off on a grown up gap year – we can help you find your perfect host. Best of all, you can join as a solo traveller, as a couple, or even as a family!

In exchange for a few hours of work each day, your host will usually provide free accommodation and meals. Whether you want to make your digital nomad dream a reality, improve your surf skills, or master how to bake those irresistible Pasteis de nata custard tarts, with Workaway you can enjoy it all at the click of a button by signing up today!


Making a difference in Portugal

Thanks to the gigantic waves of the Atlantic ocean, Portugal is a Mecca for surfers. This means it is a dream destination for those who want to volunteer with surf camps, schools or retreats. Simply enter keywords such as “surfing, surf school or water sports” into the host search box.

For those who prefer dry land, you can give off grid living a chance with eco-farms, permaculture projects and sustainable construction. There are also many Hosts in Portugal that are passionate about animal welfare, with volunteer opportunities in dog sanctuaries, farms and pet sitting.

There are also opportunities to make a difference behind the scenes, with many hosts requiring help with marketing, social media and web design – particularly within the tourism industry. While we pride ourselves on being a cultural exchange, Workaway is also a great way to boost your CV, learn a new language and make friends all over the world. With over a thousand hosts in Portugal alone, there are so many ways you can share your time and make a difference while enjoying this epic destination.


How to find the perfect host in Portugal

As well as using the regions above as a guide, you can use your skills and interests as keywords in the search box to find your perfect host in Portugal. Whether you’re enticed by the cobbled streets of Porto, the vanlife culture or have digital nomad dreams for Madeira – your perfect host is literally a few clicks away.

Best of all, when you join Workaway you are not limited to one project or region. For a small membership fee you have access to over 50,000 volunteer opportunities across 170 countries. After Portugal, why not hop over the border to Spain? Another sunny destination popular with eco warriors, animal lovers and surf enthusiasts ready to make a difference.

With its breathtaking landscapes, rich history and vibrant culture, Portugal offers endless opportunities to make memories as well as give back to the community. Whether you want to support local NGOs, surf all day and party all night or simply eat Pasteis de nata for breakfast lunch and dinner, with Workaway you can do it all.