Imagine white sands, blue waters, warm sunshine, and delicious cuisine. Sounds like paradise, right?
The Mediterranean brings exactly that.
No wonder so many people flock to the region. As UN data shows, the Mediterranean Basin is by far the most popular tourist destination, attracting more than 300 million travelers per year.
So, if you want to volunteer abroad in the Mediterranean, you’ll find a variety of service opportunities across a range of countries. In this article, you’ll learn where you can volunteer, what you can do, and what organizations have reputable projects.
Where can I Volunteer in the Mediterranean?
First, let’s define the Mediterranean region. It centers around the Mediterranean Sea, an intercontinental sea stretching from the Atlantic Ocean (west) to Asia (east). The sea separates Africa from Europe.
As Encyclopedia Britannica notes, the region has been called the “incubator of Western civilization.” The Mediterranean Sea has long connected the civilizations, people, goods, and ideas of North Africa, Europe, and Asia. The Egyptian, Greek, and Roman empires all grew up around the Mediterranean Sea and relied on its routes to sustain and expand their kingdoms.
In the present day, the Mediterranean Basin includes countries in Southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and West Asia.
Countries where you can volunteer include:
- Spain – This guide covers all you need to know about volunteering in Spain.
- France – See what you can do in France in this article.
- Portugal – Join a food waste project in Portugal with Frontier, one of the world’s largest volunteer travel organizations.
- Italy – If you’d like to volunteer in Italy, check out this detailed article. Also, International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ), rated the world’s most trusted volunteer abroad organization, runs numerous volunteer projects in Naples, Italy, from ESL teaching to environmental conservation.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Join Love Volunteers on this amazing community development program.
- Albania – For volunteer projects in Albania, Love Volunteers has numerous options, from childcare to community development.
- Greece – From refugee camp support to sea turtle conservation, Greece has ample volunteer abroad opportunities.
- Israel – Work at a refugee health clinic in Tel Aviv through Frontier, an organization that’s placed more than 103,000 volunteers abroad.
- Morocco – If you want to volunteer in North Africa, Morocco boasts the most options. For example, through IVHQ, you can volunteer in childcare, teach English, teach French, or coach sports. You can also join a women’s education initiative.
What can I do as a Volunteer in the Mediterranean?
Home to a diverse blend of cultures, languages, religions, and economies, the Mediterranean offers a great variety of volunteer abroad programs. You can put your skills to good use in the following areas:
Environmental, marine, and wildlife conservation
As the European Commission notes, the Mediterranean region is “one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots.” Sadly, mass tourism and the exploitation of marine resources threaten the sustainability of the area. From sea turtle conservation to marine conservation research, you’ll discover lots of environmental volunteer programs in the Mediterranean.
Education and childcare
Income inequality, gender and racial discrimination, and inadequate infrastructure lead to a lack of educational opportunities for many communities in the Mediterranean. Teach English, volunteer for women’s empowerment, coach sports, help out at childcare centers, and more.
From a midwifery internship in Morocco to medical care for refugee communities, you can find a lot of ways to help out as a skilled healthcare volunteer. And you’ll ensure disadvantaged people in the Mediterranean region gain better access to medical services.
The Mediterranean Sea has become one of the main passageways for migrants escaping human rights abuses in their home countries. If you want to volunteer abroad for refugee relief, the Mediterranean region could use your passion and help.
For instance, Love Volunteers operates a community development program in Palestine. You can support Palestine’s most impoverished people by assisting at community centers designed to give children, teens, and adults safe spaces to learn and grow.
Support marginalized communities by building schools, helping with job skills training, promoting human rights, working with entrepreneurs, and more.
In addition to these types of volunteer programs, you can find intern abroad programs in delightful destinations like Spain (GoEco has a hospitality internship in Barcelona). Intern abroad opportunities in the Mediterranean range across healthcare, education, marine biology, law, marketing, and many other fields.
Who can Volunteer Abroad in the Mediterranean?
Basically, anyone canâ —as you long as you’re physically capable, satisfy program requirements, and adhere to visa regulations.
While we tend to think volunteer abroad programs suit college students and young adults, service opportunities specific to seniors and retirees exist. For example, IVHQ’s environmental volunteering programs in Spain and Italy particularly suit seniors and retirees looking for an adventure.
For those under 18, you have choices too. Global Leadership Adventures (GLA), a provider of life-changing travel experiences for high school students and teens, has a great project in Spain. Known as the Spanish Service in Action™ program, this adventure includes hands-on language learning, community service work, and sightseeing.
Featured Organizations and Programs
Now that you know where you can go and what you can do, let’s cover some of the best volunteer abroad programs in the Mediterranean.
Founded in 2007, International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) has sent more than 103,000 volunteers abroad. As one of the most respected names in volunteering, IVHQ has been featured in publications like National Geographic and The New York Times.
IVHQ has more than 200 service projects across the world, including in numerous Mediterranean countries. Program fees start at just $180, making IVHQ a great option if you’re looking for a trusted, low-cost organization.
Check out some of their Mediterranean volunteer programs below!
Venture to the coastal hub of Split, a town on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Known for its beautiful beaches and excellent art galleries and museums, Split is home to Diocletian’s Palace, which is considered among the most imposing Roman ruins.
If you want to volunteer in Croatia, IVHQ has several projects in Split, including:
- Youth support: Give underprivileged young people the support they need to develop interpersonal skills and heighten expectations of themselves.
- Teaching: Work in a local NGO and ensure underserved communities get adequate access to education. You’ll teach English, a language skill that can benefit students for a lifetime.
- Animal care: Overcrowding has become a problem at local animal shelters. Give cats, dogs, and other abandoned pets the attention they need.
- Creative technologies: Use digital tools and grassroots strategies to inspire locals to take ownership of their surroundings. Projects aim to raise awareness of social and environmental issues. If you wish to develop skills in web design, marketing, communications, photography, or something similar, this program suits you!
Ready to go to Split? Program fees begin at $549 for one week. Click here to register!
Journey to Chios, the fifth-largest of the Greek Islands. Located in the gorgeous Aegean Sea, Chios delights with its tranquil beaches, Byzantine architecture, and delicious foods and drinks (olives, cherries, wine, and more!).
Through IVHQ, you can volunteer in Greece in a variety of fields, such as:
- Food outreach: Provide daily meals to elderly people and children in need.
- Kindergarten assistance: Help with activities, like arts and crafts, play with children, and assist with classroom renovations.
- Special needs care: Support a special needs school and center by assisting teachers, preparing classrooms, helping with meals, and interacting with residents.
Are the Greek Islands calling your name? Program fees begin at $740 for two weeks. Find out more and apply here!
Say hello to Barcelona, a city filled with architectural treasures and world-class dining. From Museu Picasso to all the delicious tapas, Barcelona amazes at every turn. If you want to combine a volunteer abroad trip with sightseeing and fun, few places compare.
IVHQ runs numerous volunteer programs in Barcelona. You could volunteer in marine conservation, and work to protect life in the Mediterranean Sea. Or, you may join a youth support program and inspire disadvantaged youngsters to improve their future prospects. If you want to help those with disabilities, IVHQ has a special needs care program in Barcelona as well.
Interested? Program fees begin from $625 for one week. Register on IVHQ’s site!
An award-winning volunteer travel organization, Plan My Gap Year places 4,000+ volunteers every year in destinations across South America, Africa, and Asia. Established in 2011, PMGY has become known for affordable, transparent fees, meaningful and sustainable projects, and excellent volunteer support.
PMGY receives great reviews from past volunteers—a testament to their commitment to doing good. They take good care of volunteers, providing pre-departure preparation, airport pickup, orientation, local support, and even meals and accommodation.
If you want to volunteer in the Mediterranean, consider going to Morocco with PMGY (details below).
Located right on the Atlantic Ocean, Morocco’s capital city Rabat charms with palm-lined streets, a well-maintained medina, and cozy beach space. It’s simply a great city for volunteer travel in the Mediterranean.
PMGY currently has two programs in Rabat:
- Childcare: Make a difference in the lives of young children by offering your help at a local childcare center. The children at the centers come from poor backgrounds and their parents rely on childcare services in order to work and support the family. Duties include arranging activities such as arts and crafts, assisting with washing and feeding the younger children, and teaching basic English.
- Teaching English: Improve the future prospects of disadvantaged youth in Rabat by teaching them English, a language that can open up economic doors. You’ll teach primary and middle school students. Be ready to use games, role play, songs, conversation starters, and other methods to improve their language ability.
Want to learn more? Program prices begin at $474 for one week. Get all the details here!
A fast-growing international volunteering organization, Love Volunteers serves thousands of volunteers each year. They have become popular for their inexpensive prices, meaningful service initiatives, and focus on providing immersive, safe experiences.
If you want to volunteer in the Mediterranean, few organizations have the breadth of opportunities that Love Volunteers does. From animal rescue work in Albania to journalism internships in Morocco, you’ll definitely find a program and location that suits you.
Check out two of Love Volunteers’ best volunteer programs in the Mediterranean below:
Syrians have been flooding Turkey since the early 2010s, escaping violence and upheaval in their homeland. Often arriving with nothing, these refugees require basic necessities and resources to have success in their new communities. In this refugee support program, you’ll work in schools where Syrian children attend alongside Turkish students. You’ll work to improve the children’s daily lives and give them a sense of hope.
Held in Istanbul, you’ll have plenty to do during free time, from walk around the bustling Grand Bazaar to tour Topkapi Palace Museum. Istanbul, a cultural heartland, has so much to explore. Interested in helping refugees from Syria and experiencing Istanbul? Click here to reserve your spot!
Travel to Tirana, the largest city in Albania. There, you’ll volunteer at a children’s community center on the outskirts of town. The center welcomes mainly Roma and Egyptian minority children. Many of the children’s families have migrated to Tirana in search of better employment and education opportunities, but face discrimination and economic obstacles. As a volunteer, you’ll help these marginalized children boost their self-confidence and gain skills. You’ll teach life skills, arrange sports and fun activities, prepare nutritious meals, provide companionship, and more.
During free time, check out lively Tirana, a city known for its colorful buildings, public squares, and great parks (be sure to visit Dajti National Park). Beaches beside the Mediterranean are within a short distance, too. Want to learn more about this program? Head to Love Volunteers’ site!
Founded in 1998, Global Vision International emphasizes ethical volunteering in areas ranging from marine conservation to women’s empowerment to global health. GVI’s sustainable development programs have earned them recognition from numerous organizations, such as Save the Children and Panthera. To date, more than 35,000 people have volunteered or interned with GVI.
GVI runs volunteer and intern abroad programs in 21 locations, including in the Mediterranean. Check out their projects in Greece below!
Pack your bags for Giannitsochori, a gorgeous and historic village along the Ionian Sea. And make a difference by protecting loggerhead turtles. Depending on your age and interests, you may join one of the following three programs:
- Sea Turtle and Marine Conservation Teen Volunteering (from $2,030 per week): Great for high school students, this teen volunteering program involves tasks like preserving nesting areas and promoting turtle conservation within the community. This under-18 program is designed for 15-17 year olds.
- Volunteer with Turtles (from $606 per week): Experience Greek culture as you protect nests from predation and flooding. And enjoy the views of the Bay of Kyparissia.
- Greece Sea Turtle Conservation Short Term Internship (from $656 per week): Learn valuable professional skills as you contribute to conservation efforts. Interns assist with research, conduct surveys, educate the local people, and create strategies to protect loggerhead nesting areas. If you want to launch a career in marine or wildlife conservation, apply to this program.
Rated the Top Volunteer Abroad Organization by GoAbroad in 2018, GoEco plays a major role in promoting sustainable travel. A leading voluntourism company, they’ve placed more than 17,000 volunteers in programs since beginning in 2006. They’ve also been featured in major publications like The Boston Globe and The Guardian.
If you want to volunteer abroad in the Mediterranean, few organizations offer a comparable variety of locations. For instance, you could participate in Mediterranean Sea conservation efforts off the coast of Denia, Spain. Or, you may join a bottlenose dolphin conservation project in Zambratija, Croatia.
Look over some more volunteer projects in the Mediterranean below!
Ready to become a vegan baking extraordinaire? Then join this bakery internship in Tel Aviv, a fascinating city on Israel’s Mediterranean coast. You’ll live a stone’s throw away from the beach and some of Tel Aviv’s most happening nightlife spots. During your internship, you’ll find yourself surrounded by delicious scents as you learn how to use vegan ingredients to make tasty pastries and desserts. Prepare to eat lots of sweets!
Does this sound (or smell) like the internship for you? If yes, reserve your spot with GoEco today! Fees begin at $1,030 for two weeks.
Make your way to Ischia, a stunning Mediterranean island known for its vineyards, hot springs, rustic villages, and laid-back lifestyle. Sail along the coast as you study dolphin behavior, record bioacoustics, steer the boat, and take photos. Your help goes a long way in creating an accurate picture of dolphin life in the region (population size, social structures, habitat condition, etc).
When you’re not living out at sea, take advantage of therapeutic healing offered by the natural thermal springs on Ischia. Already dreaming of being there? Click here to register! Fees begin at $1,150 for one week.
Making Your Volunteer Trip to the Mediterranean Happen
Now that you know all about volunteering in the Mediterranean, it’s time to plan your trip. Consider your budget, location preferences, interests, skills, time availability, and other factors when choosing a program. Then, select a program that suits you best and apply!
To make your volunteer trip more affordable, use the following resources:
Abroadly – Search our platform for volunteer travel opportunities in the Mediterranean. Automatically qualify for a $500 scholarship when you apply to a program through Abroadly
Volunteer Forever’s Fundraising Platform – Raise money for your trip!
Volunteer Abroad for Free – This guide teaches you all about lowering costs.
So, are you ready to travel? The Mediterranean awaits!