🇬🇷 VOLUNTEER IN GREECE 🇬🇷

Volunteer in Greece with Plan My Gap Year – an award-winning, international volunteer abroad organisation with programs in Kefalonia, Greece. PMGY provides safe, trusted and affordable programs overseas, with wildlife conservation projects in Greece, including Marine Conservation & Turtle Conservation opportunities.

PMGY Greece have projects located in the beautiful island of Kefalonia, the largest island in the Ionian Sea. The Greece volunteer programs start on selected Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays of every month. Our seasonal projects in Greece run May to November and participants can join the program for 2-4 weeks. Volunteers in Greece are provided with an extensive pre-departure support service, airport pick-up, in-country orientation, volunteer accommodation and local support.

KEY FEATURES

PROGRAM FEE FROM 840 USD

PROGRAMS FOR 18+ YEAR OLDS

✓ 80% OF VOLUNTEERS ARE 18-22 YEARS OLD


✓ MEET LIKE-MINDED SOLO TRAVELLERS


✓ VOLUNTEER FIVE DAYS EACH WEEK


✓ AVAILABLE TO WORLDWIDE VOLUNTEERS


✓ IDEAL FOR WILDLIFE LOVERS

DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS

LOCATED IN KEFALONIA

SELECTED DATES EVERY MONTH

✓ AIRPORT PICKUP & DROP OFF


✓ ACCOMMODATION & PROJECT TRAINING


✓ SAFE, SECURE & TRUSTED COUNTRY SETUP


✓ CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION


✓ 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY, UK & US SUPPORT

GREECE MARINE & CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS

Protect large seagrass meadows and sand dune systems on a meaningful conservation and research experience in Kefalonia.

FROM 840 USD

2-4 WEEKS

MORE INFO

GREECE TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS

Protect endangered sea turtles through hands-on fieldwork on the island of Kefalonia. Partake in the ultimate research and conservation project.

FROM 840 USD

2-4 WEEKS

MORE INFO

@planmygapyearofficial 🇬🇷 Check out our quick house tour of our Greece Volunteer Accomodation 🌎 #pmgy #planmygapyear #pmgygreece #volunteerabroad #travelgreece #volunteergreece ♬ GASLIGHT – INJI


@planmygapyearofficial POV: You went by yourself volunteering and this is what happend 😍 #pmgy #pmgygreece #turtle #sunset #volunteer #volunteerabroad #friends ♬ Riptide – Vance Joy


@x_daisyb best experience of my life 🩵🐢 @Plan My Gap Year #pmgygreece ♬ Coastline – Hollow Coves


WHY VOLUNTEER IN GREECE WITH PMGY?

Most Affordable – PMGY’s programs are accessible to everyone who wants to make a difference, through low fees and high-impact projects.

 

Best Support – Our international and local teams provide extensive around the clock services to assist you every step of your PMGY adventure.

 

Safety Prioritised – With safety a PMGY number-1 priority, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe and structured as possible.

 

Extraordinary Experiences – With PMGY, you have the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in amazing cultural and travel experiences, ensuring you leave with unforgettable memories.

 

Friendships for Life – Your PMGY experience not only opens up a doorway for new experiences and exciting memories, but also life-long friendships when meeting new people from around the world.

VOLUNTEER PROJECTS

GREECE MARINE AND COASTAL CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS

Protect large seagrass meadows and sand dune systems as a Greece marine conservation volunteer. Develop research experience and discover all the marine organisms that thrive within the protected marine plants. and explore the sand dunes and their critical role in climate change. Enjoy a fulfilling conservation project as you explore the critical role of sand dunes in climate change when you volunteer in Greece

 

Background to the Marine & Coastal Conservation Program

 

Since 2012, we have been actively engaged in conservation and research on the Greek Island of Kefalonia. With origins in sea turtle protection, our conservation efforts have expanded to incorporate marine and coastal conservation. Indeed, the local team has always been monitoring the changes in beach profiles over time due to environmental and human-induced effects.

 

As sea turtles are part of both coastal and marine ecosystems, our research has widened to encompass the study of the protected Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows and the sand dune systems. Both of which are categorised as vulnerable on the Red List. This is a critical indicator that quantifies the health of the world’s biodiversity. In addition to these ecosystems being important for the nesting and foraging of endangered sea turtles, they are important biomarkers for climate change.

 

Posidonia oceanica is more commonly known as Neptune grass or Mediterranean tapeweed. Specifically, it is a seagrass species that is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. It forms large underwater meadows that are an important part of the ecosystem. Their conservation status was last assessed in 2018 around the Mediterranean by the European Environment Agency. The outcome for Posidonia was not a positive one. Whilst the habitat is not in danger of disappearing in the immediate future, the European Environment Agency explained how the Posidonia oceanica is in a situation where changes in policy are required for the area to return to the stronger position it requires.

 

Therefore, further studying of posed threats to Posidonia is hugely important for the future of the species and the planet. For the Posidonia to achieve and maintain a good environmental status, active conservation and study of the area is required. As a marine conservation volunteer in Greece, you will be at the forefront of helping the protected region to achieve this status.

 

It is not only the seagrass meadows that are under threat. Coastal sand-dune habitats are also endangered on the Greek island of Kefalonia. This is important to note because they play a huge role in maintaining plant and animal biodiversity, which contribute to coastal protection. Sadly, there is a lack of research into dune system changes in Kefalonia. As a result, there is a great need for further studies and research within this area. A large part of your volunteer work in Greece will be based on the sand dunes and conducting relevant habitat surveys.

 

Volunteer opportunities provided by PMGY offer a platform to make a positive impact when you’re volunteering in marine and coastal conservation. When working as a Greece marine conservation volunteer, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. As a marine conservation volunteer, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your conservation work and the impact of your field research through a volunteer experience. Greece is our only European destination where you can embark on a wildlife conservation program project.

 

Marine & Coastal Conservation Volunteer Placement Example

 

Skala – Your program start date for the Skala location is on a Thursday. Situated in the south of Kefalonia, Skala is a village location that is within walking distance of the sand dunes and seagrass meadows. The traditional small fishing village has now grown into a modern seaside town. The beautiful sandy beach and crystal clear water makes it one of the most popular beaches in Kefalonia.

 

The program studies the Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows and the sand dunes along south-east Kefalonia within the Skala and Mounda beaches. Specifically, the location focus for the project is the coastal and nearshore marine zone of the Mounda Peninsula. Seagrass meadows are a larger carbon sink than the rainforest and play a critical role in mitigating climate change. They form an important ecosystem, providing habitats and nursery grounds for many marine animals as well as other organisms. Sand dunes and their vegetation form a dynamic barrier between sea and land and a specialized ecosystem that is impacted by development and accelerated erosion.

 

The coastal and marine study areas will be mapped with a drone at regular intervals. Volunteers will not need to have drone skills but will have an opportunity to learn some of the latest uses of drones for environmental science. Surveys over the sea will help locate seagrass meadows and plan snorkel surveys. On the shore, sand dunes will be surveyed by drone to create both topographic and three-dimensional maps, which will help study the ecosystem and track changes over time.

 

Snorkelling teams will survey the nearshore area to collect geotagged photographs of the seagrass meadows. These will later be analysed to identify species, the types of meadows, and their current state as well as changes over time. The coastal sand dunes will be mapped and studied with beach profile and species identification surveys. The current state of the dunes will be studied, as well as their trends over time. The presence of plastics and other detrimental factors in both the marine and the coastal ecosystem will be recorded, and some shifts will focus on collecting those for recycling or disposal.

 

Participants on the Greece volunteer program will contribute their time and skills to help collect vital data and help support critical marine conservation work and understand how marine ecosystems are impacted by direct human activities and by climate change. Data collected by the project will help create one of the most detailed datasets on the coastal and marine ecosystems in the area.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

As a volunteer in Greece on the marine and coastal conservation program, there is a range of conservation activities you will engage with. This is all focussed on protecting the seagrass meadows and sand dune habitats within the Skala region.

 

You will begin your conservation activities on the day after your arrival and orientation. Your first few days on the volunteer project will be full of hands-on learning. This will be under the guidance of experienced field assistants. You will quickly get acquainted with all aspects of the fieldwork.

 

Volunteers will be getting involved with hands-on research that will allow them to demonstrate standard scientific methodology that can be used in the field. Working with others during their time means they will be building on their teamwork and leadership skills. They will understand the importance of protecting the dune and Posidonia ecosystems around Kefalonia. In addition, will have a clearer understanding of current climate concerns and the impact these can have on both marine and terrestrial environments. This information learnt will allow them to pass on details to others and spread public awareness of current issues.

 

Volunteers will split most of their time between exploring the Posidonia meadows and understanding the extensive dune systems found. While surveying both areas, volunteers will be looking into what lives within the systems, creating topographies, and understanding pressures both ecosystems face. In addition to this, volunteers will be working to keep the beaches of Kefalonia free from trash and debris, as well as taking part in drone surveys and reviewing the footage once the flight is complete.

 

Most mornings will involve an early start and will usually be spent on the in-water sea grass studies and Posidonia surveys at Skala beach. Specifically, capturing geotagged photos of seagrass meadows with data reviewed, collected and entered into the database. In the afternoons, volunteers will spend more time on the dunes. For instance, conducting sand dune habitat surveys, vegetation studies, species identification and beach litter collections.

 

Other activities across the day include assisting our drone pilot in surveying sand dunes and then reviewing the drone footage to identify threats and problems. Volunteers will also receive training sessions in utilising GPS systems, data entry and photo classifications.

 

There will be free time every day and most evenings where volunteers can relax or take part in various activities including film and quiz nights. There will be 2 days off per week. Volunteers will be expected to work around 6 hours each day across early morning and afternoon shifts.

 
 

GREECE TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS

Protect endangered sea turtles through hands-on fieldwork as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer. Monitor nesting beaches, conduct beach patrol surveys, tag turtles and complete hatching rescues. Enjoy a true research and conservation project adopting an established scientific methodology when you volunteer in Greece.

 

Background to the Turtle Conservation Program

 

An array of fauna and endangered species are nestled in the sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of Kefalonia. Located on the outskirts of mainland Greece, the loggerhead sea turtle is one of the island’s most interesting endangered species. More specifically, they are the only marine turtle nesting in the whole of the Mediterranean.

 

As a result, Kefalonia is an important breeding ground for loggerhead sea turtles. Sadly, there are many threats that push the sea turtles of Kefalonia closer to the brink of extinction. Both human and natural threats damage and destroy many of the eggs laid on the island’s sandy beaches.

 

Furthermore, the turtles themselves are regularly disorientated, injured, or killed by a range of hazards. Examples include accidental boat strikes, swallowing plastic, light pollution or getting caught in fishing gear. These threats extend on a global level and endanger all turtle species including green sea turtles and leatherback sea turtles.

 

The loggerhead turtle can be distinguished by their large heads, reddish-brown shells and yellow/brown skin. In addition, they are one of the oldest species in the world. Our goal through this sea turtle conservation project is simple. To clarify, it is to study and protect the endangered loggerhead turtles of Kefalonia and their ecosystems.

 

Every year, sea turtles migrate to Kefalonia to forage and reproduce. Females nest in Kefalonia on average five times in one breeding season. The nesting activity itself mainly occurs at night throughout the summer months. Laying around 100 eggs each time, hatchlings will occur 2 months later and newborn turtles emerge. They will make their way into the sea at night when risks of predators are lower. In the interim, you and your fellow volunteers will work towards a primary goal of protecting sea turtle nests against accidental damage.

 

Volunteer opportunities provided by PMGY offer a platform to make a positive impact when you’re volunteering with turtles. When working as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. As a sea turtle volunteer, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your conservation work and the impact of your field research through a volunteer experience. Greece is our only European destination where you can embark on a wildlife conservation program project.

 

Turtle Conservation Volunteer Placement Examples

 

Sea turtles nest along Kefalonia’s southern coast. To maximise the areas in which we can monitor, we have established two field stations at separate locations on the coast. Consequently, your volunteer work in Greece will take place in one of two locations. They are only a short 30 minute ferry ride between each other. Depending on which day you choose to begin the program, will dictate your placement setting as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer.

 

Argostoli – Your program start date for the Argostoli location is on a Sunday. Regarded as the capital town of Kefalonia, Argostoli is closer to the beach locations and nesting beaches. The town’s coastline is rich with short, narrow beaches and colourful cliffs. Most importantly, the beaches spread across a wide area and represent an important nesting habitat for Kefalonia’s sea turtles.

 

The field station base at Argostoli stretches over eleven beaches varying from 100 metres to 1 kilometre. We will work in sub-teams to conduct morning beach surveys to ensure all locations are covered. Additionally, the bay of Argostoli blends into the Koutavos Lagoon. The warm waters here become home to several sea turtles during the summer season. They will usually congregate in the harbour of Argostoli visible to conservation volunteers and tourists.

 

Lixouri – Your program start date for the Lixouri location is on a Tuesday. Established as the main town on the peninsula of Paliki, it is lined with long south-facing beaches. Nesting beaches are in abundance. Some have unusual characteristics including red sand and clay cliffs. Each brings its own risks and vulnerability. In short, the warm sandy beaches are a hotspot for loggerhead sea turtles to lay their nests.

 

On the sea turtle conservation project in Lixouri, you will patrol the nesting beaches for sea turtle tracks on the sand. Such tracks have been left by the female turtles that emerged on the previous night. Assess the tracks, verify the location of eggs and mark the location. Moreover, work with the field assistant to collect scientific data that is most useful for the protection of the nests. During hatching season, check the beach for hatching tracks and conduct nest inventories to assess each hatching success.

 

In terms of conducting field surveys, there are two main differences that exist between each field station location. In Lixouri, main nesting areas are patrolled through the night. This is done to spot, measure and tag the nesting female turtles. However, this is not the case in Argostoli where night surveys do not exist. Since nesting in Argostoli takes place over a range of small beaches. Consequently, it is difficult to predict where the turtles will nest.

 

Observation shifts in the harbour of Argostoli focus more on monitoring the feeding and behaviour of the adult turtles. Turtles concentrate here regularly and you can congregate with your fellow volunteers to monitor this endangered species. Whereas harbour shifts in Lixouri focus simply on spotting turtles in the harbour where they are less common. The number of turtles seen in the Lixouri harbour seems to be increasing every year.

 

Aside from these differences, your typical daily tasks on the Greece volunteer program will remain similar. Moreover, you can take the short ferry ride between each location in your free time. As a result, you can develop an understanding of the typical environment in each setting.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

When you volunteer in Greece on the sea turtle conservation project, you will be protecting an endangered species. More specifically, you will be preserving the sea turtles of Kefalonia and their ecosystems. Practical measures to do this include surveying nesting beaches and protecting turtles’ nests. This extends to monitoring the population’s health, identifying threats and public awareness campaigns.

 

You will begin field surveys on the day after your arrival and orientation. Your first few days on the volunteer project will be full of hands-on learning. This will be under the guidance of experienced field assistants. Enjoy training and workshops to get acquainted with all aspects of the fieldwork on the animal volunteering project.

 

Beach Surveys – A core part of the fieldwork will be patrolling the beaches. Each morning you will find and protect sea turtle nests. Most importantly, you will walk the sand to look for fresh turtle nests. Since you can then mark and measure the nests that were laid most recently.

 

As a result, progress can be monitored throughout the incubation to hatching stage and accidental damage can be avoided. Nesting activity typically begins in the middle of May and runs through to late August. Therefore, this is the core period beach patrols take place when volunteering with turtles.

 

Hatching Rescue & Nest Protection – The nests typically hatch around 2 months after the eggs have been laid. Consequently, the hatching season usually begins in the middle of July and runs through to late October (please do not expect to see any baby turtle hatchings until this point in the season). You will continually monitor the nests to ensure they remain safe and away from danger. As the young turtles hatch, limit obstacles like light pollution and ensure they crawl safely to the sea. Conduct nest inventories to assess the hatching success of each nest.

 

Light Pollution Surveys – Asides from storms, light pollution represents the next biggest threat to sea turtle nests in Kefalonia. Lights from nearby sources can disorientate the turtles and make them crawl away from the sea rather than towards it. Conduct environmental studies to quantify light pollution and determine its source. Assess the risks to each nest and implement appropriate actions to prevent light pollution factors harming baby turtles. Engagement with locals and public awareness are also key factors.

 

Turtle Tagging – The mating season for the loggerhead turtles typically runs from April to May. During this time, volunteers usually focus on the tagging process. This is where you will collect measurements of the turtles and assess their overall health. A tag is attached to the turtle so we can track its movement.

 

Other Activities – There will be many other activities that you are involved in as a Greece turtle conservation volunteer. Conduct harbour monitoring as you observe the behaviour and record activity of sea turtles swimming around the bay. Enjoy a night shift rota as you keep watch through the night over the nests. If you are lucky, assist with a baby sea turtle release if eggs begin to hatch. Support with data entry and educate tourists on why sea turtle conservation is so important.

 

Field leaders will provide volunteers with a weekly schedule for each project location. As a result, volunteers will have a clear understanding as to what their daily tasks and project shifts are. You will rotate across the tasks to ensure your role is varied. As a result, you will build as much experience in each area of conservation as possible. Furthermore, you will get accustomed to each research method and fieldwork technique that is used.

 

Most mornings will involve an early start. You will cycle to the nesting beaches to monitor the nests and conduct beach surveys. Afternoons are free to relax, explore the local area or simply take cover from the heat. Conservation work and field research will continue in early evenings with ad-hoc night shifts also a possibility. You will volunteer 5 days per week and you will either cycle or walk to your fieldwork setting each day.

FLIGHTS & TRAVEL INSURANCE

Flights

 

After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.

 

For your volunteer trip to Greece, you should book your flights to Kefalonia International Airport. Volunteers in Greece should arrive on the Sunday or Tuesday start date. The airport code is EFL. Volunteers in Greece are encouraged to arrive before 6pm on their designated program start date so they can join for the scheduled evening orientation.

 

Travel Insurance

Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.

 

We have partnered up with the insurance company battleface to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel. You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

PRE-DEPARTURE SUPPORT

Our International Team will work hard to provide extensive levels of support in the build-up to your trip. From our online chat service to email support and telephone conversations, our team are always ready to help. All international participants with PMGY will receive a Volunteer Handbook. This detailed hand guide will provide you with all you need to know in the build-up to your trip. From visa guidance to suggested packing lists, this will be the ultimate guide for planning your trip abroad.

 

We have Facebook groups for each of our destinations. Here you can find members of our international and local teams, as well as past, present and future participants. These pages, therefore, provide a great forum for participants to network, share experiences and community updates year-on-year.

 

Sometimes it can be difficult to picture yourself abroad without yet being there. We, therefore, do our best to further manage expectations before you arrive through a variety of informative and action-packed videos on our PMGY YouTube Channel. These clips help provide you with a visual perspective of what you can expect during your time volunteering with us. Our webinars are not to be missed either. Running on selected Tuesdays, at 4pm UK time, our International Team provides invaluable advice for your upcoming trip. Each webinar covers something different. Our pre-departure webinar covers all of the essentials you need to know and do before joining us abroad. Our program preparation webinar is more project-specific, with advice and information for the time you will spend on placement. Finally, our safety webinar offers you some top tips on how to manage your safety and wellbeing across the pond. For those who are simply interested in learning more about PMGY, our team also run an introductory webinar. This provides an introduction to the local organisations, our background, goals and volunteer opportunities overseas.

 

Teaching and childcare volunteers may wish to take their program preparation even further, through a 60 hour online TEFL course. This is the perfect introductory course for working with children and teaching English abroad. Participation in this course enables international participants to acquire key skills whilst working towards an internationally accredited certificate.

PROJECT LOCATION AND DURATION

Our projects in Greece are based in Kefalonia, a short distance from the island’s main airport and around 6 hours away from Athens in mainland Greece. Considered the gem of the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia is famous for its green mountains, breathtaking beaches and crystal clear waters. Argostoli is the capital town of Kefalonia and our main project location base. It also happens to be one of the most popular towns on the island.

 

Argostoli’s loggerhead turtles inhabitants prove the biggest attraction for tourists and locals who flock to the Koutavos lagoon to catch a glimpse of them. In addition to an active harbour, there are many shops, restaurants and cafes to keep you entertained. The waterfront is a long promenade that runs adjacent to the main street and provides picturesque views of Argostoli and its surrounding areas.

 

In addition, our second project location can be found across the Bay of Argostoli in Lixouri. Located 35km west of Argostoli, a short ferry ride will take you to Kefalonia’s second-largest community in Lixouri. The town is home to 3000 inhabitants many of whom are engaged with agriculture and tourism. Its main square is filled with old-fashioned cafes and really comes alive in the evenings.

 

Our marine and coastal conservation project location can be found in Skala. Situated in the south of Kefalonia, Skala is a village location that is within walking distance of the sand dunes and seagrass meadows. The traditional small fishing village has now grown into a modern seaside town. Its beautiful sandy beach and crystal clear water makes it one of the most popular beaches in Kefalonia. The town is known for its many bakeries, tavernas and restaurants. It has a long, beautiful beach with water activity centers, beach volleyball, and is backed by many cafes and restaurants. There are several grocery stores, cash points, pharmacies, and fresh fruit markets as well. A perfect place for shopping and free-time activities.

 

Our programs in Kefalonia run from 2-4 weeks. Our Argostoli field location begins on select Sundays of each month. In the same vein, our Lixouri field location begins on select Tuesdays of each month. Finally, our Skala field location begins on select Thursdays of each month.

PMGY GREECE LOCAL TEAM

PMGY’s volunteer opportunities in Greece program are run by our dedicated and experienced in-country local teams.

 

All staff have been fully vetted by our International Team. The committed local community networks provide the structure for your stay with us as a volunteer in Greece. Our local team will arrange your accommodation, airport pick-up & drop-off, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support. Whether you are conducting harbour surveys, monitoring the nesting areas or tagging turtles our local team will support you. Our team provides a great framework for you to enjoy a unique volunteering experience with us in Greece.

ORIENTATION

Your orientation for your volunteer program in Greece will begin in the evening of your arrival day. The local team will spend a couple of hours teaching you about life in Kefalonia, the “dos and don’ts”, the local culture and project structure.

 

Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the local language and safety advice whilst you volunteer in Greece. Our team will conduct a presentation going through all aspects of the conservation work. In addition, the team will educate you on the origins of the project and the history of the island.

 

Finally, you will also meet the field leaders and field assistants during the orientation period. They will explain to you their role and their expectations of participants on the program.

 

The rest of your evening is free to relax, catch up on sleep, and get to know your fellow participants. You will have an early start the next morning as your volunteer in Greece placement begins. You will adopt a very hands-on learning and training approach across your first week on the turtle conservation volunteer project.

ITINERARY

Please make sure you arrive into Kefalonia International Airport in Greece (EFL) on either your Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday arrival day.

 

Day 1 Arrival & Orientation

 

Welcome to Greece! You will be met at Kefalonia Airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign. If you arrive on the Sunday, the journey to your accommodation will take only 10 minutes, depending on traffic. If you arrive on the Tuesday and are heading to Lixouri, the journey time will be around 40 minutes. This is because you will need to take a 30 minute ferry ride across the bay to reach your house in the town of Lixouri If you arrive on the Thursday and are heading to Skala, the journey time will be around 40 minutes. This is because the marine and coastal conservation project is based on the southern most point of the island around 35km away from the airport.

 

Your orientation as a volunteer in Greece will begin in the evening of your arrival day. The local team will spend a couple of hours teaching you about life in Kefalonia, the “dos and don’ts”, the local culture and project structure.

 

Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the local language and safety advice whilst you volunteer in Greece. Our team will conduct a presentation going through all aspects of the conservation work. In addition, the team will educate you on the origins of the project and the history of the island.

 

Finally, you will also meet the field leaders and field assistants during the orientation period. They will explain to you their role and their expectations of volunteers on the program.

 

The rest of your evening is free to relax, catch up on sleep, and get to know your fellow volunteers. You will have an early start the next morning as your volunteer in Greece placement begins. You will adopt a very hands-on learning and training approach across your first week whether you are joining us on the turtle conservation or the marine and coastal conservation project.

 

Days 2-5 Training & Volunteering

 

Your first week on the volunteer in Greece program will consist of extensive hands-on training. You will be up early each morning as you head to project locations with your fellow volunteers and field assistants. The field leaders will have a schedule prepared and assigned to you during the orientation period. The schedule will outline your daily project shifts for the week ahead.

 

You will receive intense on the job training on all of the tasks you are expected to carry out at each project setting. Moreover, you will rotate across all the project shifts during your first week of volunteering in Kefalonia. This will be under the guidance and supervision of the field assistants so you are well equipped and prepared for the rest of your time on the conservation program. There will be an on-site team lead at the project across the whole day to ensure the program runs smoothly and participants have support throughout.

 

Expect to volunteer for a minimum of 4 hours across each day. Morning shifts usually begin bright and early in all our project locations.

 

Sea Turtle Conservation

 

On the sea turtle conservation projects, you will cycle to the nesting beaches at sunrise to record any new sea turtle tracks and protect any nests before the tourists land. In addition to beach surveys, your mornings may also consist of harbour shifts and tagging turtles.

 

Your afternoons are free to relax, take a dip in the sea or head into town at which is the hottest point of the day. Project work resumes in the late afternoon. You may be conducting beach profiles or sand sifting depending on your project schedule.

 

From time to time, you may find yourself working a nightshift as you camp out under the stars on the beach and conduct light pollution surveys. Don’t forget your sleeping bag! Your evenings are free to relax and enjoy the local culture and ambience the island has to offer.

 

Marine and Coastal Conservation

 

On the marine and coastal conservation projects, you will cycle at sunrise to the Skala and Mounda beaches. Most days will involve an early start consisting of in-water Posidonia surveys at Skala beach. Specifically, capturing geotagged photos of seagrass meadows with data reviewed, collected and entered into the database.

 

The middle of the day will largely be free to relax, take a dip in the sea or head into town at which is the hottest point of the day. Project work resumes later in the afternoon. Your afternoon activities include sand dune habitat surveys, vegetation studies, species identification and beach litter collections at each beach location.

 

Other activities include assisting our drone pilot in surveying sand dunes and then reviewing the drone footage to identify threats and problems. Volunteers will also receive training sessions in utilising GPS systems, data entry and photo classifications.

 

Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away. You will see our coordinator throughout the day at the Volunteer House and they are always happy to help. Usually the local team will arrange a quiz night and movie night for volunteers to enjoy across each week.

 

Moreover, should you want to embark on personal travel after your time on the project is finished then you are encouraged to spend an extra few days in Kefalonia to explore the island.

 

Days 6-7 Days Off

 

Your days off are your time to explore the wonders of Kefalonia. Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend by the beach in Myrtos Beach, some adventure activities, or a more cultural experience in Fiskardo – Greece has it all. As a volunteer in Greece, our team both welcomes and encourages participants to explore the island’s wonderful treasures. They will be very happy to help you plan your travel opportunities and outline any travel tips.

 

Moreover, should you want to embark on personal travel after your time on the project is finished then you are encouraged to spend an extra few days in Kefalonia to explore the island.

 

As the project runs 7 days a week, volunteers are assigned different days off to ensure the project runs at all times. Therefore, it is likely that your days off will vary across the week and not necessarily be consecutive days off.

 

The Following Weeks

 

Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering 5 days each week. The conservation program runs daily from the start to the end of the season. As a result, participants generally volunteer 5 days per week to help with all the fieldwork and research that is required on a daily basis. You will have a couple of days free each week to relax or travel further afield. Your days off may vary on a weekly basis. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your phone, want some travel advice or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

 

Last Day

 

Sadly your time in Kefalonia on the turtle conservation project has come to an end. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Alternatively, if you are heading to explore the island independently or travelling to the mainland then the team can provide travel advice if necessary.

SAFETY

If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect. When anticipating their time overseas, many international volunteers (and their loved ones) are often concerned about safety and security. Although we can never guarantee experiences to be 100% trouble-free, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe as possible. Every program that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a director of PMGY. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation and worked on the projects. Through our frequent visits and daily communications, we have built strong, trusting relationships with our local staff.

 

In the unlikely event that something was to happen, participants have various layers of support available to them:

 

• Volunteer in Greece Local Team
• Project Staff
• PMGY International Team

 

Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge volunteers’ experiences. With the help of volunteer feedback, we are able to continually improve our placements and volunteer opportunities. Security and safety are frequently assessed as part of this. We ask our participants to raise any concerns with our local or International Team. This ensures that these can be addressed and/or resolved as readily and appropriately as possible.

 

Through pre-departure and in-country guidance, we do our best to prepare our international participants for their time in Greece. All participants are provided with a comprehensive safety briefing during their orientation period. Our local teams will go through everything from project introductions, to emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. During this period, our team also provide participants with a full list of the important contact numbers.

 

Listed below are some general safety tips:

 

• Be modest with the amount of jewellery worn in public
• Do not drink tap water
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents can occur when is confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night
• Use reputable transport only. Our local staff will be able to recommend some during orientation
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high-risk areas for pickpockets and thieves
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers

WEATHER

Kefalonia is home to a glorious Mediterranean climate. The timings of the project coincide with the best weather. More specifically, the best weather is experienced in the summer months. This is when temperatures are high, sunshine hours are at their peak and rain is almost non-existent. The average temperatures are 23°C to 26°C and in July temperatures can approach 30°C.

 

Spring in Kefalonia is a very pleasant time to visit, with slightly cooler temperatures than autumn but often sunnier and drier. Moreover, the island can be more peaceful with fewer tourists than in the summer months. Spring sees average temperatures of about 12°C to 18°C. The sea temperature rises from 15°C to 19°C over the course of the season.

 

Autumn is a fine time to visit Kefalonia, slightly warmer than spring but with more rainfall. Whilst the project does not run in the winter months, temperatures remain generally mild on the island across this season. The significant rainfall that arrives in the winter keeps the island green and lush for the remainder of the year

ACCOMMODATION & MEALS

ARGOSTOLI & LIXOURI - ACCOMMODATION

Volunteer House

 

During your time on the Greece volunteer program, you will live in a Volunteer House in Kefalonia. This will be in either Argostoli or Lixouri depending on your project location.

 

In both cases, the Volunteer Houses will be located near the nesting beaches we monitor. Subsequently, use your free time to swim, sunbathe and relax on the beaches. On a similar note, the team will arrange a social evening at the houses once a week for volunteers to enjoy.

 

The Volunteer Houses are located a short journey away from each main town, where you can find ATMs, supermarkets and local restaurants. It is usually a short walk from the accommodation in Lixouri to the main square. Alternatively, it will be a short taxi ride to Argostoli. You’ll be living with other participants from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way!

 

The accommodation is comfortable and clean, fitting up to 6 people per room in shared bedrooms with bunk beds. All accommodation comes equipped with electricity, basic cooking facilities, fridges, a small communal area and hot water. As the hot water is powered by solar energy, this is usually only available during certain hours of the day. The bathrooms are shared, each with a shower and western style toilet.

 

There is a washing machine available for when you complete volunteer work in Greece. It costs around 3 Euro per wash and washing lines are also provided. Ceiling fans are provided in each room and the windows are equipped with mosquito nets. In general, the accommodation tends to be quite cool across most parts of the day. Wi-Fi is usually available in communal areas. However, this is limited to support instant messaging and social media and will be quite intermittent. However, you can easily pick up a local SIM card or head to a local cafe to get online.

 

During the hatching season, you may be required to sleep on the beach in both locations. As a result, you are encouraged to bring a sleeping bag for the two or so times you will do this. This can be rented locally for 10 EUR if needed. Similarly, mosquito nets are optional so you may want to consider bringing one of these.

 

Field assistants will also live at the houses when you volunteer in Greece. This ensures you have round the clock support and security. You will either cycle or walk to and from your fieldwork setting each day.

 

SKALA - ACCOMMODATION

Volunteer House

 

During your time on the Greece volunteer program, you will live in a Volunteer House in Kefalonia. This will be located a short walk from the popular seaside town of Skala. Specifically, volunteers will share an apartment in a large villa. It’s located on a plot of land full of fruit and olive trees, providing lots of shade and a pleasant outdoor barbecue area.

 

The Volunteer House is located under 2km from the main project sites on the Skala and Mounda beaches. Subsequently, use your free time to swim, sunbathe and relax on the beaches. On a similar note, the team will arrange a social evening at the houses once a week for volunteers to enjoy.

 

The Volunteer House is located a short journey away from Skala town. Skala is known for its many bakeries, tavernas and restaurants. It has a long, beautiful beach with water activity centers, beach volleyball, and is backed by many cafes and restaurants. There are several grocery stores, cash points, pharmacies, and fresh fruit markets as well. A perfect place for shopping and free-time activities. Mounda is known for its tranquility and natural setting that has excellent snorkeling and pristine waters. A lovely place to relax and bask in the Mediterranean sun.

 

It is usually a gentle walk or short cycle from the accommodation to the bustling town of Skala or the tranquility of Mounda beach. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way!

 

The accommodation is comfortable and clean, fitting up to 6 people per room in shared bedrooms with bunk beds. All accommodation comes equipped with electricity, basic cooking facilities, fridges, a small communal area and hot water. As the hot water is powered by solar energy, this is usually only available during certain hours of the day. The bathrooms are shared, each with a shower and western style toilet.

 

There is a washing machine available for when you complete volunteer work in Greece. It costs around 3 Euro per wash and washing lines are also provided. Ceiling fans are provided in each room and the windows are equipped with mosquito nets. In general, the accommodation tends to be quite cool across most parts of the day. Wi-Fi is usually available in communal areas. However, this is limited to support instant messaging and social media and will be quite intermittent. You can easily pick up a local SIM card or head to a local cafe to get online.

 

Additionally, participants in Skala will usually conduct a night shift to carry out light pollution surveys. As a result, you are encouraged to bring a sleeping bag for the two or so times you will do this. This can be rented locally for 10 EUR if needed.

 

Field assistants will also live at the houses when you volunteer in Greece. This ensures you have round the clock support and security. You will either cycle or walk to and from your field work setting each day.

 

MEALS

During your volunteer trip to Greece, meals are not included. However, the Volunteer Houses will be equipped with basic kitchen facilities so you are able to prepare basic meal plans yourself. There are grocery shops within the local area and they are also able to deliver direct to the volunteer accommodation upon request.

 

You are more than welcome to arrange your own food plans independently. However, you will need to budget more for this. Volunteers will usually experience the local cuisine once or twice a week at the local restaurants. There are some great cafes, restaurants and cultures to sample in both Argostoli and Lixouri!

TRANSPORT TO PROJECT

Transport to and from your volunteer project is included in your Program Fee. Some of our project settings are within walking distance of the Volunteer House and some are not. The local team provide you with a bicycle so you can get to and from fieldwork locations projects that are not within walking distance. In addition, where extended travel is required or heavy equipment needed then you may travel by minivan to your fieldwork setting.

PHOTO GALLERY

VOLUNTEER IN GREECE REQUIREMENTS

PMGY welcome volunteers of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 years and there is no upper age limit. All participants need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. You do not need to speak Greek. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us in Greece will go a long way!

 

All participants must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. Volunteers must be comfortable cycling a bike on hilly terrain and also be able to walk the beaches on hot days. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation!

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY program, you need to pay your Registration Fee of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date.

 

Please check out our Application Process for more info on how to join our volunteer projects overseas.