In Barcelona, the option to euthanise abandoned animals in shelters has been prohibited since 2008. This has resulted in sanctuaries and shelters becoming very full very quickly, and volunteers are desperately needed to care for the animals and their welfare. Not only will you be helping rescued animals, but you will also be located in one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
Duration: 1 – 12 weeks
Dates: See dates and availability
Arrival day: Sunday
Return day: Saturday
Eligibilty: General level of fitness is required.
- Love and care for rescued dogs and cats, preparing them for life in a new home
- Dog walking is the most important volunteer task!
- Join shelters in central Barcelona and on the glorious Tibidabo mountain, with amazing views over the city
- Play with cats, walk the dogs and enjoy plenty of cuddles
- Meet other volunteers and make friends from around the globe
- Enjoy the all that Barcelona has to offer – from culture to food, from the beach to the nightlife
By law, all abandoned animals in Barcelona are protected from being euthanised. The inadvertent result of this law is that overwhelming numbers of abandoned animals are being brought to shelters each day, stretching their limited resources. Most of the animals are former pets, whose owners have either passed away or are no longer able to care for them, but there are also a lot of rescued and stray animals that are being given a new chance in life. The aim is to home as many of these animals as possible, or at least to provide them with a comfortable environment to enjoy the rest of their lives.
Volunteers on this project will be providing crucial services at two different sanctuaries. The first is in the heart of the city where stray cats have been given their own safe haven in a quiet self-contained courtyard. The second location is a centre for dogs and cats, which is set up on the Tibidabo mountain which overlooks Barcelona. At 512 metres, it is the tallest mountain in the Serra de Collserola, and the views do not disappoint!
Barcelona is just a fantastic city to spend a bit of time in. There is so much to do and a lot of free time to explore. Enjoy afternoons by the beach, visit the famous sites and explore Barcelona’s buzzing social scene by night.
You’ll be volunteering for half a day at one of two project sites. You’ll get to experience both during your time in Barcelona.
The mountain sanctuary for dogs and cats:
- The primary task here is to take the dogs out for walks – enjoying the lovely views and the gorgeous dogs at the same time
- Spend time socialising and playing with the dogs in the sanctuary, getting them ready for life in their new homes
- Perched on the edge of the mountain with amazing views overlooking the city of Barcelona
- Care for dogs and cats with tasks such as feeding, cleaning and administering medication
- There is an on-site clinic, so long-term volunteers may get to help with or witness medical procedures
The cat haven in the city:
- This small sanctuary is located close to the Ramblas, the beating heart of the city
- It offers a peaceful atmosphere for stray cats to live out their days lazing quietly in the sun
- Care for the cats with tasks such as feeding, cleaning, monitoring and administering medication – and there’s cuddles to be had too!
- Help with the re-homing process – many of these shy cats get to know humans through the volunteers quietly socialising with them
- Newly built, large eco hostel, 40 minutes on the metro from the city centre
- Share a spacious en-suite room with 3-5 other volunteers – each room comes with its own balcony
- Environmentally conscious practices such as solar lighting and grey water recycling
- Access to an unheated indoor swimming pool
- Large relaxing gardens and sociable common areas
- WiFi available throughout the hostel
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided in the eco-hostel canteen
- Breakfast consists of fruit, breads and spreads, cereals, toast, tea and coffee
- Lunch and dinner often include meat, fish, pasta, rice, vegetables, salad, stir fry
- A packed lunch is possible on request when volunteers are at project sites
- Provision can be made for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free diets and lactose-free diet
Airport: Barcelona (BCN)
Arrival day: Sunday. You will be met at the airport and transferred by metro to the accommodation
Departure day: Saturday
- Access to your own personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the program and manage your booking
- Dedicated contact time with an experienced destination manager to discuss the project, answer any of your questions and for us to find out more about you
- Help and advice from our UK office before arrival and whilst you are away
- In-country support
- Pre-departure information covering medical, safety and project advice
- Financial protection: ATOL (if we book your flights); IPP (if we don’t book your flights)
- Thorough orientation on arrival
- Accommodation (see the ‘accommodation’ section above for details)
- Advice on visa requirements
- Oyster plants a tree in Africa with TreeAid to help reduce the impact of global carbon emissions
- Airport collection and transfer to your accommodation
- Three meals per day (including packed lunch when required)
- 2 hour guided tour of Barcelona
- Linen and towels
- You will be helped to purchase a free sim card
- Oyster Worldwide volunteer t-shirt
- Oyster luggage tag
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
- Flights – as an ATOL bonded company, Oyster can book flights for you
- You need a valid passport that meets the requirements of the country you will be travelling to
- Insurance (covering your time with Oyster and any planned independent travel)
- Any costs associated with changing your return flight date if you need to
- Independent travel costs
- Home country travel costs
- Spending money for additional trips, food and entertainment
- Transport to your project site (10 trips on the metro costs approximately 10 euros)
- Return metro ticket to the airport
” The law in Barcelona prevents abandoned animals from being euthanised. This results in lots of beautiful cats and dogs from all walks of life ending up in sanctuaries. Luckily a lot are re-homed, and thanks to the help of volunteers, they are looked after very well in the interim. These dogs and cats were all so happy, despite some unfortunate circumstances as to why they arrived there at all. What a great way to combine exploring this fantastic city with bringing some joy to animals who need it! ” – Georgie, Destination Manager
This project has been adapted to ensure participant safe guarding measures are in place. Depending on when you are due to travel and the current global policies at this time, you may find that these measurements have become obsolete. We advise however that for time being, it is imperative that you prepare for possible ongoing requirements:
- All volunteers must bring masks, gloves and hand sanitiser
- All volunteers must be able to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test (taken within 72 hours before departure)
- Dormitory capacity at project sites will be reduced to allow for social distancing
- Social distancing overall will be implemented within the accommodation and at the project
- Prepare for a thorough orientation on arrival regarding health and safety measures at your project and in your country destination
- Employees will have been trained to issue guidance and instruction in order to help you and others stay safe
- Protocol is, and will continue to be, followed with the aim to minimise risk to staff and volunteers
The project runs Monday – Friday. Your first day as a Barcelona volunteer is spent attending an induction, including a tour of central Barcelona. You will join the project on the Tuesday where you will meet the staff and receive your project orientation.
It can vary as to which location you will be volunteering at. On the first day you will be accompanied to your project site with a coordinator and the other volunteers.
08.00: Leave the volunteer house to travel to the project
09.00 – 12:30: Volunteer tasks including, cleaning, maintenance and animal cuddles! Most of the shift is focused on walking the dogs and reducing stress, therefore increasing their quality of life.
13:00: Packed lunch can be made for you to take with you, or you can return to the hostel for lunch.
14:30: Relaxing and travel time. Usually your afternoons will be free to relax, take some trips, do some exploring or take some Spanish lessons.
20.00 – 22:00: Dinner time
- Love for dogs and cats!
- Willingness to get stuck in and mucky with the grubby jobs
- A positive attitude
- Proactive, motivated and flexible people – tasks are not necessarily allocated to you, you have to ask and offer
- Willingness to organise your own trips and adventures for your free time
- Ability to speak and understand English, learning a bit of basic Spanish is much appreciated by the sanctuary staff!
- Any animal care experience is valued but not necessary!
- The longer that you participate, the more of a contribution that you will make.
- We would recommend staying for at least 2 weeks, you’ll never get bored of exploring Barcelona and bonding with the animals!
There are many volunteer opportunities in Barcelona, but as the city has an overwhelming amount of cats and dogs that are abandoned or born as strays everyday, this is a really important project. The sanctuaries are dedicated to helping make life as easy for them as possible, and strive hard to find them happy loving homes. The city residents are such animal lovers that many get re-homed, they just need volunteers like you to give them love and care until they do. This volunteers program in Barcelona gives you the opportunity to combine cuddles and play with city exploration!
Oyster assesses projects carefully to ensure that they offer high standards of animal welfare and environmental practice. We also check that volunteers understand key points of good practice before working with animals. To find out more, see our animal welfare policy.
Whilst late-availability is possible, we would advise booking as soon as you can to guarantee your ideal dates. Our projects are very popular and spaces can fill up several months in advance, especially for the months of June to September.
- When living in Barcelona, you would experience hot summers and mild winters
- Winters in Barcelona are mild. December, January and February are the coldest months, with average temperatures around 16 °C (61 °F) during the day and 10 °C (50 °F) at night
- Generally the summer season lasts about six months, from May to October. July and August are the warmest months, with average temperatures around 28–29 °C (82–84 °F) during the day and 22–23 °C (72–73 °F) at night
- Average annual temperature of the ocean is about 18 °C (64 °F). In the warmest month – August, the average sea temperature is 25 °C (77 °F)
- You know your spending habits best! However we would recommend budgeting approximately £50 – £100 a week for free time activities
- For anything a little more adventurous, or if you are planning to travel a little further, we suggest increasing your budget
- Although all meals are included at the hostel, there are many great restaurants that you will find hard to resist!
- There are cash machines located all over Barcelona
- You should take at least two cards with you, and let your bank know that you will be going away
- We recommend a international fee free card such as Revolut or Monzo
Typically you won’t need a visa for stays up to 3 months. You should make sure your passport is valid for the duration of your stay.
Most of our volunteers are independent travellers and you will become part of a group of people from around the world here. It is fine to travel with friends or as part of a small group too however- more the merrier!
The simple answer to this question is, yes absolutely! Volunteering in Barcelona for half a day is a great to combine with the usual site-seeing. You’ll have accommodation and three meals per day included too
It is important to bear in mind however that this may not be like other holidays that you have taken. Remember that you are volunteering, and this means that you will be put to work! This sort of holiday is a world away from sun loungers and cocktails, with our volunteers often heading home tired but immensely satisfied. If you think that you will need a bit of relaxing time on your trip too, do make sure to factor this in when your time on the project is complete.
For all volunteering experiences, you should visit your doctor or travel nurse to find out what vaccinations you will need. Your routine vaccinations will need to be up to date. You should follow your doctor’s advice.
Doctors, pharmacies and hospitals are located within 30 minutes of the accommodation.
Volunteering in Spain means you’ll be living in a developed, cosmopolitan country. There are similar crime levels in Barcelona to any city in the world, however Barcelona is known for it’s elevated levels of pick pocketing in highly touristic areas. You should keep an eye on your belongings when you are out and about and always keep your valuables very close.
The hostel rooms have individual lockers on the dorm rooms where you can keep your valuables. There is also a safe at reception.
Volunteers travel in groups or with the volunteer co-ordinators on their first day. We encourage you to travel together on the metro, especially after dark.
There is free wifi provided throughout the hostel.
If you haven’t got it already, we would suggest that you download the App Whatsapp prior to arrival so that you can be added into the volunteer group once you are in Barcelona.
There is good phone reception in Barcelona.
Barcelona is GMT+2.
You will need a European adaptor.
Generally, you will be free in the afternoons from 14:30 onwards. You will also have weekends free.
- Take a sightseeing bus of Barcelona visiting special landmarks such as the Sagrada Familia church, Gaudi’s Park Guell or the Gothic cathedral
- Experience the Mountjuic Cable car and the city from up high!
- Enjoy great food, bars and night clubs
- Go surfing, visit the aquarium or take a boat trip
- Play volleyball or laze on the beach
- Go diving
- Take a day trip such as the Montserrat Monastery tour or visit the Camp Nou football stadium
Supervision will be fairly intensive during the first few days, when you will receive a thorough induction and work-related training. Once you are comfortable with things, you might not always have a supervisor working alongside you, but there will always be staff and other volunteers around to help, and you will always be accompanied for any high risk activities.
Staff at Oyster’s head office and in-country will be responsible for your safety and welfare while you are at the project. This will start from the moment you are picked up from the airport until the end of your project. Before and after these times, you will be outside Oyster’s responsibility and should make sure that you act safely and avoid risk. This is also true if you choose to leave the project during your time off. We will give you plenty of guidance and advice about this.