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Become a volunteer in Barcelona with International Volunteer HQ

Volunteer in Spain - Barcelona

Volunteer in Spain with International Volunteer HQ and join a wide range of volunteer work in Barcelona, including Animal Care, Youth Support, Marine Conservation, Creative Technologies and Special Needs Support. Volunteers are based in Spain’s iconic and captivating beachside city, Barcelona. IVHQ is the world’s most affordable volunteer travel organization and is proud to be the trusted choice for volunteer programs in Spain.
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Watch IVHQ volunteers abroad in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona Volunteer Highlights…

  • Volunteering in Spain is available year-round with programs starting every month
  • 5 meaningful project options
  • Volunteer work based in Barcelona, home to architectural treasures and tapas
  • Accommodation in a dormitory style hostel in Barcelona
  • Volunteer in Spain Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 support in Barcelona
  • Program fees from US$575 for 1 week (approximately CA$757)
  • Affordable Spanish language lessons are available
  • Between 5 and 15 volunteers start in Spain - Barcelona each month
  • Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in Spain to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
  • Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Spain will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
  • Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
  • Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
  • Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
  • New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
  • Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Spain with your new-found friends.

The IVHQ Spain - Barcelona Program is located in Barcelona, the capital city of Spain’s Catalonia region. Volunteers are required to fly into Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN), which is a 7 to 9 hour flight from most major airports in Canada.

It’s a coastal city with a vibrant atmosphere. The dedicated local team supports volunteers 24/7 as they’re immersed in local life, helping you to develop an authentic understanding of this iconic destination. Volunteer placements are located throughout the wider city area of Barcelona.

The Spain - Barcelona program begins on the second and fourth Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks.

Youth Support

There is a growing poverty divide in Barcelona, and by volunteering on the Youth Support project you can help forge meaningful connections with underprivileged young people and help give them tools to break the cycle they were born into.

By helping to foster inclusion, personal development and establish key life skills within these people, you can help to change their expectations of themselves and open up new possibilities for their future. As a volunteer, you’ll work in after school centers as a positive role model assisting with homework, organizing activities, helping with craft and art activities, and assisting with any other work that needs to be done at the organization.

Volunteers also have the opportunity to teach English through fun games or simply by interacting with the youth to improve their spoken English. During the school holidays, volunteers may also help with outside activities including trips to the beach and games. If volunteering over the summer holidays from mid-June to mid-September, you may also have an opportinuty to travel outside of the city to assist on summer camps for the youth.

The centers you’ll volunteer in provide much-needed safe places for education both in life and in schooling, helping young people socialize and be supported. International volunteers are seen as an important part of this education as young people at the centers often haven’t encountered different cultures and values before.

Your exact duties will depend on the need at the time, though you can expect to work with young people from 5 to 18 years old. You’ll work closely alongside the organization staff and other volunteers to promote better outcomes for youth. This project has a minimum duration requirement of 2 weeks.

Animal Care

Animal shelters play an important role in protecting lost and abandoned animals in Barcelona, but often they can be overcrowded. As a volunteer on this project, you’ll support the shelters to cope with the significant number of animals and improve the conditions for these cats and dogs.

Volunteer support is crucial in playing with the cats and dogs to keep them active and healthy, so they can be adopted or re-integrated with local families.

Your core role is to walk and play with animals so they have time out of their enclosures each day. You can also help with cleaning, feeding and raising awareness in the community about animal abandonment. The long term aim of volunteering with animals is to have them ready to be adopted. That means they should be healthy and happy and appealing for local families who come into the shelter looking to adopt.

You will be working alongside local volunteers as well as the organization staff to support with the day-to-day operations of the shelters. Your tasks will vary and depending on your skills and the length of your stay, you may have the opportunity to assist with minor medical treatment, building dog fences, campaigns to raise awareness or social media and photography to help promote the shelters. All dogs in the shelters are fully vaccinated.

Marine Conservation

Marine Conservation volunteers in Spain have the unique opportunity to provide support to underwater clean-up efforts - helping to reduce ocean pollution and conserve marine life.

As an ocean conservation volunteer, you’ll be using and improving your scuba diving skills while being actively involved in restoring the natural state of the marine ecosystem of Catalonia and the wider Mediterranean Sea.

The program is open to beginners without any diving experience; however, volunteers will have to gain dive certification before engaging in any type of underwater conservation activities. The Program Fee covers the cost of the required online and in-person training, full scuba equipment, and volunteer supervision from an experienced dive instructor.

All volunteers complete internationally recognized SSI (Scuba Schools International) diving certifications. The diving certification you complete will depend on your current diving experience and the length of your stay. The courses range from Open Water Diver through to Advanced Open Water Diver, and specialties such as Marine Ecology and Fish Identification. The project works with a local diving school, therefore you are always supervised by an experienced dive instructor.

By volunteering on the Marine Conservation project in Spain, you’ll become part of a worldwide movement of passionate people dealing with the global challenge of litter and the impact human development is having on the marine environment. All volunteer efforts on the project work towards the vision of healthier oceans, thriving ecosystems and a clean coastline - all driven by an aware and inspired community. As part of this, your tasks as a volunteer can include collecting trash from the sea, logging information on items collected, learning more about the marine ecosystem and how to protect it, and observing and identifying fish.

Please note in your application when you apply for the program if you have any existing dive certifications. If you do have certifications already, you will need to send a copy of these along with your diving log book through to our local team in Spain - Barcelona prior to your program starting. All volunteers are also required to provide a medical certificate which clears them for diving. You can choose to give-back on this project for 1 to 4 weeks.

Special Needs Support

As a volunteer on the Special Needs Support project in Barcelona, you’ll be providing your time to help in centers caring for children, teenagers and adults with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities.

The aim of this project is to help provide individualized care for people with disabilities, enabling them to be more integrated within their community and to live a less stigmatized life. The mainstream education system in Barcelona is not set up to receive people with certain disabilities. This means the centers that volunteers work in act as an essential alternative, providing many young individuals with mental and physical stimulation and an improved quality of life.

While volunteering on the Special Needs Support project, you’ll work alongside a team of local staff and volunteers, assisting in specific activities mostly related to arts and crafts, physical therapy, exercise and activities such as swimming or walking with dogs. While your focus is not on daily operations such as preparing food, serving meals, cleaning or helping with personal hygiene, you should be prepared to possibly assist when it’s really needed.

This project is well suited to compassionate, patient and caring people. If that sounds like you, then your time on this project will be both rewarding and highly valued by the local community. As you will be working closely with the local placement staff, you are not required to have previous experience or training to participate on this project.

Creative Technologies

Use your creative and digital skills to help Barcelona NGOs develop their online presence and boost their charity initiatives on this unique project. Volunteers with skills in website development, graphic design, videography or photography can use their expertise to help important local causes gain much needed exposure. Your skills can make a significant difference for these worthwhile efforts.

Experienced website developers can apply their understanding of the NGO’s goals and target audience to help build a website incorporating relevant content and media to support their charitable initiatives.

Graphic design professionals can work with NGOs to create a range of marketing materials, which could include flyers, print advertisements, website content, social media posts or logos. Your creativity and graphic skills can come to the fore in contributing campaigning ideas.

Volunteers with experience in videography or film can create promotional videos, and those with photography skills can help NGOs document their activities and provide images for social media and marketing material.

These NGOs generally won’t have the necessary resources available, so volunteers need to provide their own laptops, design software (Adobe Creative Suite or equivalent) and/or camera equipment in order to participate on this project. Please ensure you include all relevant qualifications and/or experience in your application for the program.

The program orientation begins on the second and fourth Monday of every month, and volunteers need to arrive in Barcelona on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN). Canadian travelers do not require a visa to enter Spain for a duration of 90 days. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported via Metro to the volunteer accommodation. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Spain prior to your volunteer program and arriving overland, we will provide you with a time and place to meet the local team in Barcelona on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our Spain team in Barcelona. It begins the morning of your chosen start date and lasts for a full day. The orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Spain – Introduction to Spain and Barcelona, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement as well as a tour of the local area and a basic Spanish language lesson. The orientation will also give you a chance to sign up for additional Spanish language lessons and to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

Weekdays: After the initial orientation, you will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift at your placement and will work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day. Please note that start times and daily workload depends on the specific project that you are participating on.

A typical daily schedule is as follows:

8:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.

9.00 AM Volunteers with a morning shift travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project.

12.00 - 2:00 PM Lunch is served at the accommodation.

2:30 PM Volunteers with an afternoon or evening shift travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on their project.

8:00 - 10:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer accommodation. After dinner you will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as you wish.

Please note this schedule will vary depending on the needs of your particular project.

Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory-style hostel close to the airport and about 45 minutes from the city center of Barcelona. You can expect to share a room with between three to nine other volunteers of the same gender. Every volunteer will have access to their own locker to store valuables and other personal belongings. The hostel has shared bathrooms equipped with western toilets and showers. Bedding and towels are provided for each volunteer. Volunteers can also enjoy a shared living room, a small library and a pool during the summer months. There is staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week; however, volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy.

WiFi is available in the volunteer accommodation and can be accessed from many cafes and restaurants in the area. A local SIM card with data can also be purchased for unlocked phones.

Private rooms in the hostel with shared or private bathrooms can be arranged upon request for an additional cost, subject to availability.

Volunteers are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Breakfast is self-serve at the volunteer accommodation and includes fruit, bread, jam, cereal, milk, tea, and coffee. Lunch and dinner are provided in the accommodation according to a fixed menu. Meals will include pasta, rice, meat, seafood, vegetable and salad dishes as well as some typical Spanish dishes. Volunteers who wish to spend the day in the city and require a packed lunch, just need to request this the day prior.

Tap water is fine to drink in Spain; however, bottled water is readily available if you prefer and you should budget approximately US$5 (approximately CA$12) per week for this.

Spain - Barcelona

Length of program Program Fee $USD
1 week $575
2 weeks $960
3 weeks $1,345
4 weeks $1,730
5 weeks $2,115
6 weeks $2,500
8 weeks $3,270
10 weeks $4,040
12 weeks $4,810
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$299 on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To convert these prices to your local currency click here.
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours, transport to and from your placement if required.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Barcelona city tax paid directly to the accommodation - budget about US$10 for this
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Spain generally find US$80 to be sufficient for weekly expenses

Spain - Barcelona: Marine Conservation Project

Length of program Program Fee $USD
1 week $900
2 weeks $1,490
3 weeks $2,175
4 weeks $2,720
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$299 on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To convert these prices to your local currency click here.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Barcelona city tax paid directly to the accommodation - budget about US$10 for this
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Spain generally find US$80 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Dedicated support from a volunteer expert
  • Complete MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive program guide
  • Deals on flights and travel insurance
  • IVHQ alumni membership
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Discounts on language lessons

Volunteers have the weekends free and there is no shortage of great things to see and do in Barcelona and throughout Spain! History, art, culture, cuisine and natural beauty - Spain has it all! As a volunteer in Spain, you can fill your free time in Barcelona visiting the many historical sites and attractions, swimming and sunbathing at the incredible beaches and dining on local delicacies such as Paella.

Volunteers staying for longer durations, or who wish to travel before or after their program, can visit areas further afield in Spain including; Granada, Valencia, Madrid and so much more! Volunteers can make travel arrangements once in Barcelona, with the advice and guidance of our local team.

See our Spain Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Spain!

Capital Madrid
Population 46.7 Million
Languages Spanish
Currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone UTC+01:00

Weather and climate: Being such a large country, the climate of Spain is very varied. Barcelona and its metropolitan area has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. Its average annual temperature is 21.2 °C (70.2 °F) during the day and 15.1 °C (59.2 °F) at night. In the coldest month – January, typically the temperature ranges from 12 to 18 °C (54 to 64 °F) during the day and 6 to 12 °C (43 to 54 °F) at night. In the warmest month – August, the typically temperature ranges from 28 to 32 °C (82 to 90 °F) during the day and about from 20 to 24 °C (68 to 75 °F) at night. Large fluctuations in temperature are very rare.

Volunteers must be over 18 years of age at the beginning of the program unless traveling with a parent or guardian. Volunteers must speak fluent English or Spanish. Volunteers must have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a recent criminal background check. Marine Conservation volunteers must provide a recent medical certificate or doctor’s note showing medical clearance for diving. Volunteers on the Creative Technologies project must have a minimum of 2 years training and/or professional experience in website development, graphic design, videography or photography.

Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Spain - Barcelona program, however we recommend volunteers take advantage of the highly affordable Spanish lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our local team in Spain.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

Language Lessons: Spanish language lessons are available for all volunteers regardless of their ability. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these lessons to allow them to work and communicate more effectively during their program. The language lessons are organized upon arrival in Spain during the program orientation. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and are taught by professional Spanish teachers. Classes run Monday through Friday, the cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. Spanish lessons must be paid for once in Spain to our local team and prices are available upon request after you have registered for the program.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!