Young Canadians choosing their working holiday destinations have it either extremely easy or hard, depending on how you view things. On one hand, there are over 30 amazing countries where one can live and work. On the other, there are just too many options! How can one possibly choose?!

Our Top Working Holiday Destinations

Whilst picking our favourite spots was no easy task, we took the following things into consideration to help us narrow it down:

  • If jobs are available for young Canadians in the destination
  • The cultural experiences and way of life
  • Would we want to do a working holiday in this destination?!

Just in case you need a refresher, here’s everything you need to know about working holidays!

Now that you are close to living out your dream of doing a working holidat, it’s time to decide where to go. Below we list our top 10 picks for working holiday destinations for Canadians— which are in no particular order, we recommend them all!

Japan

The land of the rising sun is so incredibly different from Canada that it makes for the perfect working holiday destination for those seeking a unique cultural experience. Japan has some of the friendliest and most polite people in the world, an amazing variety of delicious food, the opportunity to learn a new language, explore ancient shrines and spend your nights singing karaoke.

Whether you choose to work in a Japanese ski resort or head to the city, you won’t be disappointed.

Jacob standing in street in Japan
Jacob was all smiles during his working holiday in Japan

To be eligible for a working holiday visa young Canadians must:

  • Currently reside in Canada and hold a valid Canadian passport;
  • Be between 18 and 30 years old;
  • Can prove sufficient funds to support their trip;
  • Have never previously held a working holiday visa for Japan;
  • And a few other things, all detailed here. Don’t worry too much, we’re here to help you every step of the way!

On days off

Head to Hakone for a break from the Tokyo. With great views of Fuji and just a couple of hours by train from Tokyo, this is the perfect weekend trip! Hakone is an onsen town. Onsens are hot springs baths and they are often found in traditionnal inns, ryokans. If you want the true Japanese experience, you have to try it out.

Learn more about heading on a working holiday in Japan here

Costa Rica

Who hasn’t dreamed of living the pura vida lifestyle? Costa Rica is at the top of many young Canadians working holiday list, and who can blame them? Two gorgeous coastlines, friendly locals, incredible fauna and flora, surfing and all-around good vibes! This is one country that is super different from Canada—but Ticos will be happy to take you under their wing!

Costa Rica earns its spot on this list because of how well-loved it is as a destination. It really is an amazing place. However, it is not the easiest place to find work and some Spanish knowledge is definitely helpful.

costa rica

To work in Costa Rica through their Youth Mobility program, young Canadians must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen;
  • Hold a valid Canadian passport;
  • Be between 18 and 35 years old;
  • And a few other things.

There is a catch: in order to get the work visa, you must already have a job or internship offer. An alternative is to head to Costa Rica on a 90-day tourist visa and then apply for a working holiday visa once you get a job offer. Finding a job might be a bit tougher here than elsewhere, but once you do — it’s a pretty fantastic to live!

On days off

Stray away from beach life and head for the clouds — the cloud forest that is. Monteverde is evergreen and astounding. Trade the surfers and beach bums for farmers, artists and naturalists. The Tico hospitality is still there, you’re just joined by a few more monkeys, sloths, and friendly critters.

Learn more about experiencing a working holiday in Costa Rica here!

Australia

The ocean, warmth and kangaroos aren’t the only reasons why Australia makes for the perfect working holiday destination! It’s just such an easy transition from Canada to Australia. Canada and Australia are like super friendly relatives. The climate, accent and wildlife are very different, but the overall way of living is similar enough to not be jarring. A good amount of culture shock is healthy and fun, but it’s quite nice to live and work in an English-speaking country.

With our Australia Working Holiday Program you can learn to surf!

In order to be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa in Australia, Canadians must:

On days off

Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef, cuddling up to a koala, learning to surf in Sydney, heading to a market in Byron Bay, wine and coffee tasting in Melbourne, and going on epic road trips — there’s just too much to choose from when it comes to Australia!

Curious about what life’s like down under? Check out Ian’s and my very own experience! You can also learn more about how we can help you live the dream with a working holiday in Australia here!

Spain

Spain is known for many things: tapas, flamenco dancing, siestas and fiestas alike, Dalí, fútbol, paella, sangria, and so much more. Night owls will find a home in Spain where people stay up late and have dinner late in the evenings.

Whether you’re admiring the amazing Alhambra in Granada, walking the Camino de Santiago, lazing about Parc Güell in Barcelona or partying the night away in Madrid — Spain is without a doubt amongst the best working holiday destinations.

Everything you need to know about going on a working holiday in Spain is here!

spain

To be eligible for a WHV in Spain, young Canadians must:

  • Have a valid Canadian passport for the duration of your stay;
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 35 years old;
  • Can prove sufficient fund to support your trip;
  • Have no criminal record.

Although it is not a eligibility requirement, you should at least know some Spanish before heading on over!

On days off

According to locals, the best beaches in Spain can be found in Cádiz. Just to avoid any confusion, Cádiz is both a province and a city. Whilst all the beaches here are worth a visit, Bolonia is unmissable. The sand dunes surrounding this beach are 30 meters high and 200 wide. From its apex and on a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of Morocco across the turquoise waters!

New Zealand

A place where easy-going vibes and new adventures come together, New Zealand makes for a great English-speaking working holiday destination! Kiwis (New Zealander) don’t take life too seriously which makes it a fun place for travellers to live and work. The Māori culture, breathtaking landscapes, countless adventures—from volcanoes and caves to waterfalls—make New Zealand a slice of paradise.

Paige and her friend watching the sun set in New Zealand

In order to be eligible for a WHV in New Zealand, Canadians must:

On days off

A good road trip in New Zealand is the thing of dreams — but the attainable type. Drive along the coast from Auckland and stop at the pristine and world-famous Cathedral Cove beach, from there make sure to stop at Hot Water Beach — it’s exactly what it sounds like, you won’t be disappointed. If you’d like to go on this adventure with other like-minded travellers, we’ve got you covered!

Want to know what it is like to do a working holiday in New Zealand? Check out Paige’s working holiday experience!

Everything you need to know about jetting off to adventure in New Zealand on a WH is here!

Germany

With so much to offer, it’s no surprise that Germany is featured on our list of best working holiday destinations. From partaking in Oktoberfest to skiing in the Alps, music festivals in Berlin, shopping in Düsseldorf and a night out in Munich — you won’t need to look hard to fill up your free time with so many fun things to do in Germany!

And let’s not forget — travelling across Europe from here is extremely easier (and cheap), so it’s the perfect opportunity to get out and explore the world a little! It is a working holiday after all – so it’s encouraged to get some travel in!

germany

In order to be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa in Germany, young Canadians must:

  • Hold a valid Canadian passport;
  • Be between 18 and 35 years;
  • Have sufficient funds to support their trip
  • Not have a criminal record

On days off

I think we can all agree that road trips are the best — the Romantic Road is Germany’s top scenic route. Castles, medieval towns (like Rothenburg ob der Tauber), historic hotels and of course, a bunch of restaurants serving up hearty German food and the quintessential beer. What more can you ask for?

Learn more about working holidays in Germany over at IEC’s.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom truly is the best working holiday destination for the novice traveller. While on a UK working holiday you can choose to live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The UK is English-speaking and relatively quick flight from home, with plenty of similar customs. Why else do we highly recommend the UK as a working holiday destination? Just like Germany, it is super easy to travel throughout Europe from here.

However, you might have to figure out how to make tea properly before coming – they take their tea very seriously.

United Kingdom
Don’t think that only Australia has beaches – the UK has them too!

In order to be eligible for a Working holiday visa in the UK, Canadians must:

On days off

Whether you work in a summer camp or find the perfect gig in London, you’re sure to make great memories over the weekend. We’re pretty big fans of the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. This Northern wonder spans 20 metres and is 30 metres above the rocks below. Linking the mainland to the minuscule island of Carrickarede, this lovely jaunt is not for those with a fear of heights. Nevertheless, it is one of the most stunning places to visit in the UK.

And right nearby is another great working holiday destination: the Emerald Isle. While we don’t offer a program in Ireland (yet), we’ve put together a starter guide for Canadians looking to live and work in Ireland.

Find out how we can help you work and travel in the UK here!

Chile

A Working Holiday in Chile is the perfect way to begin a South American adventure. Being fully immersed in a Spanish-speaking country and skipping the Canadian winter to embrace summer in the Southern Hemisphere makes it all the better.

Contrarily to Canada, Chile isn’t a huge country—however, it is long! This (along with varying altitudes) results in the country hosting at least 7 major climatic subtypes. Deserts, tundra, glaciers, rainforests and plenty more—all in one spot! How cool is that?

chile san pedro de atacama

To be eligible for a Working holiday visa in Chile, Canadians must:

  • Hold a valid Canadian passport that will remain valid for at least one year after entry;
  • Be between 18 and 35 years old;
  • Can prove sufficient funds to support their trip;
  • Prove they have travel insurance;
  • Have never previously held a working holiday visa for Chile;
  • And a couple of other small things.

On days off

Head to San Pedro de Atacama! Stepping foot into this desert city feels like you’ve made it to another planet. Valle de la Luna, the Valley of the Moon, is breathtaking. Enjoy the warmth of the sand, the history and traditions of the land, as well as the best stargazing you’ve ever experienced in this little slice of off-the-beaten-path heaven.

While living in Chile you will also be within reach of many bucket list destinations. Take trips to Buenos Aires, La Paz, the coast of Uruguay or Easter Island.

Here’s what a day in my life looked like when I was doing my working holiday over in Chile!

Here is some more info about heading on a working holiday in Chile.

Taiwan

When thinking of Taiwan, many picture bustling cities that never sleep, like its capital Taipei — while the country is famous for its phenomenal night markets, there is plenty more to discover. Take your pick from mountainous forests, secluded islands, winding coastlines and verdant parks. Taiwan perfectly joins the vibrancy of East Asia with the beauty of nature.

If you’ve ever wanted to have a taste of the forbidden—but delicious-looking—food in Studio Ghibli’ Spirited Away, Taiwan is where you want to be. I dare you to find a dish that you don’t like in Taiwan – it’s all amazing!

Most working holiday makers in Taiwan are English teachers — if that isn’t really your cup of tea, digging for another gig may be a tad tricky.

taiwan
Taiwan has amazing night markets to explore

In order to be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa in Taiwan, young Canadians must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen;
  • Reside in Canada at the time of application;
  • Be between 18 and 35 years old;
  • Hold a Canadian passport which is valid for a year after entry in Taiwan

On days off

Let’s be honest here, everyone wants to take a good Insta or two when they’re out living abroad. Rainbow Village in Taichung City is a sight to behold. Its history is also fascinating as it used to be a military dependent’s village, until a local man, Huang Yung-Fu, decided that he was done with the drab — and we’re very glad for it.

Learn more about heading to Taiwan on a working Holiday through International Experience Canada.

Croatia

While Croatia is another of our favourite working holiday destinations where finding a job might be a bit trickier — it’s far too beautiful to be left off the list.

Plenty of things make Croatia very different from Canada: the sunny weather, turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea, thousands of islands, centuries-old cobbled street and gorgeous vistas wherever you go. Croatia an easy pick when it comes to setting down some (temporary) roots!

croatia

To be eligible for a working holiday visa in Croatia, young Canadians must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen;
  • Be between 18 and 35 years old;
  • Hold a Canadian passport which is valid for a year after entering Croatia

On days off

Anyone lucky enough to call Croatia their home should visit their most amazing beach. That honour goes to Zlatni Rat Beach on the island of Brač. The half-kilometre long beach continually changes in shape, but it always stretches beautifully out to the Adriatic Sea. Nearby town Bol makes the trek even more worth it!

Find our more about working and travelling in Croatia here!

Choosing amongst working holiday destinations is just the first step of many into an amazing adventure. If you had to pick just one, where would you go? Then, once you’ve gotten hooked on living abroad, where would you go for your second working holiday?