White and light coloured buildings with terracotta-coloured roofs fill a coastal town. A cathedral towers amongst the buildings and a large boat is at sail in the bay. It is a nearly cloudless day with lots of light reflecting off the trees and the buildings.

Discover Portugal’s nine charming islands of the Azores

Part of Portugal, but roughly 1,400 kilometres west from the capital city of Lisbon, the Azores are one of two archipelagos (the other is Madeira) that are composed of nine volcanic islands, strewn throughout the North Atlantic Ocean. Flores and Corvo can be found in the west; Graciosa, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial are located in the centre; and Sao Miguel and Santa Maria lie to the east.

Unlike mainland Portugal, the Azores are characterized by a cooler climate, where in the summer months, the average high is 24 degrees. But those slightly milder temperatures, combined with limitless dramatic landscapes, breathtaking beaches, and delicious dishes to explore, make the Azores one of the best parts of Portugal to visit year round.

Getting there

SATA Azores Airlines connects Canadians to the natural beauty of the Portuguese island of São Miguel with five-times weekly non-stop service from Toronto to Ponta Delgada. Ponta Delgada, on Sao Miguel Island, is the capital and biggest island in the Azores archipelago.

The summer schedule includes twice weekly service from Toronto to Teceira Island. Azores Airlines is the only carrier that will connect Montreal to Terceira with once-weekly non-stop service from June 15 to Sept 14, 2022. Terceira, located in the central group of the archipelago, is home to the Azores’ oldest city, Angra do Heroismo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s steeped in history.

Connections across North America are available with codeshare partner WestJet Airlines and interline partner Porter Airlines.  Convenient connections are available to other Azorean islands, Madeira and mainland Europe; Lisbon, Porto, Paris, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Barcelona, and Cape Verde. Those travelling between North America and Europe can book a stopover in the Azores for up to seven days at no additional charge. The stopover can be booked on the island of São Miguel, the largest of the nine islands, or Terceira. 

For the most current information on restrictions and mandatory procedures for entry into the autonomous region of the Azores visit https://www.azoresairlines.pt/en/mandatory-procedures-for-entry-to-destinations

 

Four people swim in a lake with pine forests and mountains in the background. The four people are all smiling and laughing.

Why a trip to Canada’s stunning Northwest Territories should be on your summer bucket list

Affectionately known as the Land of the Midnight Sun, the summer months present one of the best months to visit the Northwest Territories.

From June to August, the NWT sees clear blue skies, flanked by a shimmering sun that never truly sets. Divided by the Arctic Circle, on June 21, which marks the Summer Solstice, the sun never sinks below the horizon, meaning that until mid-July, the Northwest Territories sees a delirious amount of sunshine at all hours of the day. Depending on how far north travellers trek into the Arctic Circle, the constant sunshine can last for up to six months.

While darkness truly never comes to Canada’s far north from April to July, by August, the Aurora Borealis resumes visibility and paints the northern skies in brilliant shades of electric green, deep purple, and inky indigo. 

The Northwest Territories are divided into six definite regions, each one distinctly beautiful from the next.

SOUTH SLAVE

South Slave, located south of Great Slave Lake, is the jumping point into the Territory, with direct access from the Alberta border. South Slave is home to Canada’s largest national park, Wood Buffalo, which spans 44,741 sq. km and is open for camping from now until Sept. 30. 

Photo credit: Angela Gzowski

NORTH SLAVE

To the north of Great Slave Lake lies North Slave, an area that’s home to the oldest rock formation in the world, the four billion-year-old Acasta Gneiss. North Slave is also home to the NWT’s largest Indigenous population, the Tłı̨chǫ (sometimes spelled Tlicho) people. 

Photo credit: Angela Gzowski

DECHO

Adventure travellers shouldn’t skip out on a visit to Dehcho, where breathtaking mountain backdrops and winding rivers abound. Dehcho is also home to the Nahanni National Park Reserve, which was designated as a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its incomparable geological land formations, which include deep canyons, thunderous waterfalls, and ancestral Dehcho First Nations sites. 

Photo Credit: Destination Canada

SAHTU

Sahtu, which borders the Yukon Territory on its western side and Inuvik to the north, is a backcountry camping lover’s dream, and is considered one of the most remote places in NWT, meaning travellers are very likely to come across an abundance of regional flora and fauna, like wood buffalo, moose and grizzly bears. 

Photo credit: Colin Field

WESTERN ARCTIC

The Western Arctic, a land of polar bears and sprawling tundra, is flanked by the Mackenzie River, and is where travellers can find a direct link to parts of the famed Northwest Passage. 

Photo Credit: Gerold Sigl/NWT Tourism

YELLOWKNIFE

Finally, Yellowknife, NWT’s capital, provides endless fun year round, and is a “little big city” that’s buzzing with community and culture.

From paddling, rafting, cruising or fishing the dozens of lakes and rivers, to embarking on a road trip down one of many scenic highways, to camping out under the Northern Lights, playing a round of golf, or embarking on an Indigenous-led tour, there’s no shortage of things to see and do this summer in the Northwest Territories.




Over half a dozen people stand facing away from the camera, overlooking a city skyline, all in a raised arms yoga pose. There are ferns and other greenery decorated along the rooftop.

This hotel chain just launched rooftop yoga classes that offer amazing skyline views

Hyatt has launched a new collaboration between Thompson Hotels and the nation’s largest yoga studio brand, CorePower Yoga, to offer a series of not-your-average rooftop workout classes rooted in the mindfulness of yoga, designed to transform the minds and bodies of guests, CorePower Yoga members and locals. Starting summer 2022, classes are available complimentary to Thompson Hotels guests at participating properties and accessible to CorePower Yoga members and locals.

Participating properties, including Thompson Austin, Thompson Hollywood, Thompson Nashville, Thompson Seattle, and The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel in NYC, are offering a series of CorePower Yoga vinyasa-style C2 or high-energy Yoga Sculpt classes, led by local CorePower’s best-in-class teachers on each hotel’s show-stopping rooftop space with skyline views.

Going beyond a typical class experience with curated playlists that capture the essence and mood of each class, guests staying at a participating Thompson Hotel can also enjoy one complimentary CorePower Yoga studio class as well as 20% off an All Access Membership or 10 Class Pack, ensuring a truly comprehensive wellbeing experience that guests can take with them wherever they travel next.

To learn more about each property’s class offerings, see below. For more information on how guests and members can take advantage of this collaboration, visit: www.corepoweryoga.com/thompsonhotels.

Down the Danube with Avalon Waterways

“From Vienna to Budapest, a river cruise showcases off-the-beaten path things to experience.”

There’s a fire in the kitchen! Sparks are flying after chef Karl Wrenkh pours a small vial of vodka into a simmering pan of oyster mushroom stroganoff and quickly takes a lighter to it — causing the liquid substance to instantly burst into metre-high flames.

But unlike some failed dinners that accidently transform meals into a charred crisp, his concoction is all about deliberately sealing some extra flavour into a mouthwatering recipe. 

From the newly-remodelled cooking studio of Wrenkh Vienna Culinary School, the budding entrepreneur explained how he and his brother Leo followed in their parents’ footsteps to bring local, fresh and healthy cuisine to life in a destination that’s universally renowned for being the home of the Wiener schnitzel. It’s a rather interesting story too, considering the family isn’t vegetarian but rather, stems from a long history of butchering. 

“Nobody in the family ever was [vegetarian] — we’re actually a family of butchers. We still feel there’s a lack of really good, quality vegetarian food in Austria. It’s great fun cooking vegetarian stuff because we can still always be creative with the recipes,” he said. “My parents were among the first vegetarian chefs in Austria in the 1990s, but then they divorced and we didn’t exist for a couple of years… then my brother and I opened up here in ’09. It’s 80% vegetarian with meat and fish [on the menu] — we say we cook what we hunt and fish.” 

Today, the restaurant has not only become a trendy spot for lunch and dinner, but a cooking hub for visitors and locals alike to learn how to make mainly vegetarian meals with a twist during daily culinary workshops. The Wrenkh brothers, who have their own cookbooks, are also co-creators of Avalon Fresh, river cruise line Avalon Waterways’ selection of healthy and vegetarian menu offerings onboard.

“We had a need to elevate our vegetarian cuisine; we didn’t want to serve pasta every day,” noted Pam Hoffee, the president of Avalon Waterways, who was also on location for the cooking demonstration. “Originally, it was about vegetarian cuisine but then we saw a trend towards healthy eating as well. It’s helped us elevate that and it’s been evolving over time.”

The suite life 

Recently christened by 15-time Emmy Award-winning host, executive producer and anchor Meredith Vieira, Avalon View is the newest ship to join Avalon’s fleet. The 166-passenger ship is mostly made up of 200 sq. ft. Panorama Suites with floor-to-ceiling 11-feet wide windows that slide wide open. There are also two large 300 sq. ft. Royal Suites, complete with two sinks and a powder room for guests for those seeking even more space.

Travellers looking to experience the ship firsthand can take part in a variety of Danube-based itineraries offered this year, including a special Gone Girl! departure on Sept. 15 with author Gillian Flynn.

After transforming the ship from Lot #02338024 to Avalon View, Vieira, well known for her time on television as the host of The View and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, admitted to having a slight fear of water before agreeing to take on duties as godmother. 

“It’s so warm and inviting. I love the size of the ship. You feel like you’re part of a family,” she said, reflecting on her time on the ship. “There’s an intimacy to it that’s really lovely. I really feel like I’m immersed in the culture around me because of the fact that we’re constantly stopping and you have the opportunity to do so many different things in port. The food on this ship is really good and the wine is unbelievable. I would definitely do it again. I could see myself doing it alone, it’s definitely a great experience as a family or friends. You can make it whatever you want.”

Highlights along the route

Unlike ocean cruises where guests often wake up somewhere new every morning, the river cruise journey takes place during the day so that all those onboard can soak up the scenery as the ship moves past historic castles, stunning landscapes and picturesque buildings like Dürnstein’s blue Abbey. Another must on a river cruise down the Danube is an evening illumination cruise past landmarks in Budapest like the The Hungarian Parliament Building and Castle Hill. 

While in port, a variety of daily tours ranging from active hiking or biking outings to classic city explorations are offered to give visitors the chance to have a deeper connection and understanding of the destination. These options allow travellers to customize their river cruise journey from start-to-finish based on personal interests. In Bratislava, for example, a classic option would be a city tour with a stop to enjoy Slovakian liquor tasting at the St. Nicolaus Distillery. Meanwhile an active option would be hiking through the forest and vineyards of Raca, followed by a wine tasting. There is really no wrong choice and it can be tough to narrow down which tour to choose. The convenient thing about being docked in the heart of the city is that it’s also easy to get on and off to explore. There’s ample free time built into each itinerary so that those who are torn between two daily excursions will be able to cross off some of those sights on their own.