Work and Travel in Greece
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN GREECE FOR TRAVELLERS
For many generations, the sunny nation of Greece has established itself as the premier Mediterranean tourist destination for international tourists looking to escape their colder, darker climes. The tradition of backpackers and working travellers looking for work, especially in the hospitality industry, is therefore also well-established.
It is also a very traditional society, however, and sensitivity towards Grecian modes and customs must be respected before you expect to succeed at booking up work in the country.
Read on to learn the ins and outs of working and travelling in Greece with our handy travel guide.
1. Work in a yoga retreat on a Greek island
The wellness industry is very popular for tourism these days, and tourists in large numbers are seeking out yoga centres in the tranquil natural settings of many of the Greek islands.
If you have a supplemental skill, be it as a yoga teacher, massage therapist, or dietician, then you’ll presence will be desired at one of these centres. Even if your skillset is more as a builder or gardener, you can work and travel to these places before they open, and help get them prepared.
2. Help at a stray dog/cat sanctuary
Greece has a high population of street animals, especially in the bigger cities like Athens and Thessaloniki. They can’t find enough food to eat, so organisations have come into existence to fill the gap.
This will likely be a volunteer-only situation, but along with cleaning litter boxes and feeding the animals, you’ll get a chance to learn the ins and outs of the Greek animal welfare system, which could prove useful if you decide to pursue a professional career in animal welfare.
3. Work on a day-trip yacht in Santorini
One of the most popular activities for tourists on the Greek islands is booking up a yacht for an all-inclusive day or multi-day cruise. Working travellers are needed to cook, clean, prepare drinks, and entertain the guests. Experienced sailors are also obviously needed.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR GREECE
Greece is a party to the Schengen Agreement; therefore, EU, UK, US, Australian and Canadian citizens (among others) may enter Greece without a visa for stays of up to 90 days for tourism purposes. Citizens of all other countries must apply for a visa. See here for a complete list of countries that need or don’t need a visa to enter Greece.
If you wish to stay in Greece for longer than three months within a six-month period or need to get a working visa, you will probably require a national visa (type-D) from the Greek embassy in your country of residence. You are unable to apply for this in Greece.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN GREECE
Greece, like much of the Mediterranean, enjoys a warm and pleasant spring. This is a quieter time of year, before the tourism season kicks off. It’s a good time to work on farms and get to know the locals. Building such relationships can actually go a long way in helping you to become an established and successful working traveller in Greece.
We would also recommend opting for some of the environmental projects in the area. Working on projects revolving around coastal erosion and managing the woods above the city are perfect options for the spring season. Most of these are volunteering opportunities but could become paid if you have the technical expertise or a degree in conservation.
This is “go time” - the season to get booked up on well-paid work in the tourism sector. Hotel or hostel management, room cleaning, chef and bartender, water sports instructor, yacht sailor - these skills will all be desired by some business owner or another in the summer season.
The main tourist islands are Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Corfu, Naxos, and Rhodes. On Mykonos especially, several music and arts-based festivals are held each season, so seek these out if you’ve worked in the music event industry before.
Harvest season is huge in Greece. Lasting from summer all the way through early winter, pickers are needed for grapes, olives, oranges, potatoes, even bananas.
This is a great industry to start off with if you are a lower-skilled backpacker hoping to make the transition to a working traveller. You may be invited to come back season after season if you make a good impression your first go around.
The winter season is colder than you might initially think in this part of the work. If you’re going to travel to Greece in winter you might want to consider working with the elderly, disadvantaged youth, or those with disabilities.
The great thing about this type of work is that it is needed all across the country, so you can choose to stay in either a small village or large metropolitan city, depending on your interest at the time.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN GREECE
Due to Greece’s long-standing tradition of tourism and trade, foreigners are a welcome sight and you won’t face many hurdles in booking up work that matches your skills as a working traveller.
But keep in mind that many Greeks don’t speak fluent English, so this may be a challenge depending on the industry you wish to pursue. Also, many Greeks are religious and hold strong views towards gender roles, so keep this in mind when you consider your behaviour and move about the country.
Generally, though, you can’t go wrong with choosing Greece as a destination for your next work and travel adventure. Get started today!
- Edited on Jun 11 2021 by Lily