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?! Below we list our top ten picks for the best working holiday destinations for Canadians— which are in no particular order, we recommend them all!
Whilst picking our favourite spots was no easy task, we took the following things into consideration to help us narrow it down:
Just in case you need a refresher, here’s everything you need to know about working holidays!
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.
Head to Hakone for a break from 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 traditional inns, ryokans. If you want the true Japanese experience, you have to try it out.
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.
There is a catch: in order to get a 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 pretty fantastic to live! Luckily, we can help you with that.
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.
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.
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 Genevieve’s experiences! You can also learn more about how we can help you live the dream with a working holiday in Australia here!
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.
Although it is not an eligibility requirement, you should at least know some Spanish before heading on over! On our Kick-Start Spain Working Holiday Program, you will get two weeks of Spanish lessons on arrival – you will be speaking like a local in no time!
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!
A place where easy-going vibes and new adventures come together, New Zealand makes for a great English-speaking working holiday destination! Kiwis (a 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, and countless adventures—from volcanoes and caves to waterfalls—make New Zealand a slice of paradise.
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!
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 a 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.
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. We’ve put together a starter guide for Canadians looking to live and work in Ireland.
When thinking of South Korea, many picture bustling cities that never sleep – like its capital, Seoul. Yet despite being one of the most forward-thinking, tech-driven countries in the world, South Korea has managed to retain its customs and traditions, wherein lies the charm. Here you will find mountainous forests, pristine beaches and secluded islands a train ride away from futuristic, neon cities; fourteenth-century temples aside towering skyscrapers, K-Pop music, K-Beauty, quirky cafes (from speakeasies to cartoon and swimming pool themed cafes), and so much more.
A South Korea Working Holiday Visa will give you the opportunity to take on casual work to support your travels. Most working holiday makers in South Korea work in hospitality, translation, au pair, marketing or food and beverage.
Whether you’re a city slicker or a country bumpkin, there is something for everyone. Get a sensory overload from the cutting-edge Seaol, or for a dose of island life head to Jeju island. Hailed as the ‘Beautiful Island of the Gods,’ Jeju features the highest mountain in South Korea, the dormant volcano Hallasan. There are hiking trails across the island. Uncover crater lakes, alpine forests, lava caves and sweeping, untouched beaches. South Korea perfectly joins the vibrancy of East Asia with the beauty of nature.
Have you ever dreamed of strolling the Seine, visiting the Eiffel Tower, or learning to bake the perfect croissant? Well, did you know that it is possible for young Canadians to live and work in France for up to three years under the France Working Holiday Visa?
Plenty of things make France an easy choice for Canadians wanting to do a working holiday. Incredible architecture, art and history dominate this country – not to mention some of the best food in the world. The French are a social bunch and you will have plenty of opportunities to perfect your French language skills while sampling cheese and wine along the bohemian Left Bank of Paris, the vineyards of Bordeaux, and the beautiful countryside of Provence.
There are few restrictions on the type of work you can do on a working holiday in France. Like finding a job in Canada, your own experience and skills, as well as your French language skills will make the biggest impact on the jobs you are eligible for. France an easy pick when it comes to setting down some (temporary) roots!
It’s hard to narrow down the best things to do on your days off – there are so many! Working holiday travellers can delve into beautiful French cities like Paris, Bordeaux and Cannes; explore the lavender fields of Provence and decamp in the perpetually sunny French Riviera. Not to forget indulging in the world’s most incredible food.
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 seven major climatic subtypes. Deserts, tundra, glaciers, rainforests and plenty more—all in one spot! How cool is that?
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.
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!
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?
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?
Get in touch to learn more about our Working Holiday Programs and how we can help you plan your trip of a lifetime!
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