Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Iceland
The rugged landscape is the draw for volunteers to Iceland with reasonably priced (for Iceland) international workcamps dotting the landscape each summer.
Grassroots Volunteering in Iceland
The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:
Iceland Conservation Volunteers
The Environment Agency of Iceland’s long-term volunteer Trail Teams works throughout Iceland’s national parks and nature protection areas each summer on a programme that runs for nine weeks. Volunteers are involved in all aspects of practical nature conservation work in Iceland’s nature protection areas. The primary purpose of the teams is to support the work of local rangers. The construction and maintenance of networks of hiking trails are central to the work. Trail repair work involves working with timber and stone and includes the construction of bridges, boardwalks, drains and steps. Other tasks include ground clearance, surfacing and a great deal of digging.
Volunteer teams are involved in GPS mapping, data collection and the removal of invasive plant species. Applicants must be over 20 years old and have some experience in practical work, hill walking and camping. No experience of nature conservation work is required as all training is provided by our staff and volunteer team leader.
Accommodation & Costs: During the programme food, travel and accommodation (often camping) are provided. The remote worksites and basic living conditions make this programme both an adventure and a challenge. Volunteers are selected from applicants and do not pay a participation fee. Long term volunteers pay their own travel costs to Iceland, are expected to make their own way to the programme, and must organise and pay for their own insurance for their trip and the duration of their stay.
SEEDS Iceland is an Icelandic non-profit volunteer organisation designed to promote intercultural understanding, environmental protection and awareness through volunteer work on environmental, social and cultural projects. SEEDS was established in 2005 and has become a leading non-governmental organisation working in this field. SEEDS run several workcamps each summer. The work involves construction, renovation and environmental conservation. Each camp lasts two to three weeks over Iceland’s short summer. A smaller number of medium and long term volunteers, for between three and 12 months (ideally minimum of six months), are also needed. These positions are usually admin, manager or workcamp leader roles.
Qualifications: No special skills are required.
Accommodation & Costs: Basic accommodation, in anything from a tent or school classroom, and food is provided. Participation fees are typically around €250 to €400 per camp.
+++\ + /+++
Worldwide Friends Iceland (WF) was established in 2001 as a non governmental organisation and one of its main activities is the organisation of a programme of workcamps for international volunteers. These projects take place all around Iceland and include a wide variety of tasks. Projects fall into three broad categories: physical work, such as building, planting and restoration; social work, often with children or people with handicaps; or work/study, where work and learning opportunities are integrated. The two week workcamps are held all year. The work requires no previous experience but participants must be over 18 (though special cases can be permitted with valid motivations and through contacts with the sending organisation in your home country). WF also sends volunteers to cultural events and music festivals.
For those able to stay longer in Iceland, three to six month logistical and workcamp leaders positions are available. Though unpaid, food and accommodation is provided along with the opportunity for free or low cost travel around the country.
Where: All over Iceland.
Accommodation & Costs: Fees vary per camp to cover board and lodging, insurance, study visits and administration costs.
Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Iceland
A shorter term version – two weeks – of the Environment Agency of Iceland’s conservation volunteer programme (see above) in the Vatnajökull National Park in Skaftafell is handled by Working Abroad. Unlike the nine week programme there is a fee of £575, which is a fair jump of a couple of hundred quid from when we first included them on this page. This does cover all project expenses, including all food and camping accommodation, and Iceland is a very expensive place, so we will leave you to decide if this counts as cheap.
Under the title Hostel Work Exchanges we used to list Bus Hostel Reykjavik here, under the impression they sometimes announce their volunteer needs on their Facebook page. In the past they had sought volunteers to do night shifts in exchange for accommodation, breakfast and tours around Iceland, but a representative from the hostel has since requested us to take it down stating “It is illegal in Iceland.” We keep them here because the hostel is popular with Trail Team volunteers arriving and departing the country.
Help Exchange Networks in Iceland
Workaway – https://www.workaway.info/hostlist-IS.html
Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Iceland
Stay free in return for caring for local residents’ homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter.
Volunteer in Iceland, Travel for Free – Wade Shepard received free food and accommodation in exchange for carving steps into the side of Eldborg volcano.
Working for Free at Iceland Airwaves – Flora Baker accidentally flashes her bra to the lead singer of Of Monsters And Men.
* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations
Image copyright Umhverfisstofnun
Get Our Newsletter. It's Where The Jobs Abroad Are