Volcanoes are one of the world’s great tourist attractions. People flock in their droves to experience the otherworldly environments they provide or to witness the spectacular night time displays in eruption. Swide chooses the top 10 volcanoes to visit.
The 10 best
in the world
Volcanoes can provide everything you need for the perfect vacation, from adventure, sight-seeing, danger, otherworldly topography, unique biology as well as the opportunity to relax in geothermal hot springs and a lush and fertile surrounding region producing excellent food produce and wines. Swide has the top 10 volcanoes to visit in the world from Indonesia to Mount St. Helens t Costa Rica.
Making the headlines in 2010 fro closing virtually all the airports in North-West Europe, Iceland’s most unpronounceable geological feature served as a reminder of the power of volcanic eruptions to thwart out best-laid plans. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano lies just north of Skogar in Iceland as is one of the island’s smaller ice caps. The caldera is covered with an ice cap, which flows out feeding many glaciers. The spectacular Icelandic landscape is a powerfully arresting environment to witness the primeval force of a volcano and the grim weather and hash surrounds have an eerie yet hauntingly beautiful effect. Take a 4×4 monster truck ride halfway up the volcano’s slopes and along the ridge to the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, then hike the remaining 16 km for 7 hours to the summit.
Mount Etna, Sicily
The mountain and surrounding area has been added to the Unesco list of World Heritage Sites. From the serene sandy shores of Sicily take a day trip to the fiery heart of the island’s Mount Etna, rising high above the clouds watch the geology change as you enter the rain belt the temperature drops, reach the snow-covered peak and witness the flaming show and clouds of ash. With over 400 craters in the area there are geothermal wonders and recent lava flows at every turn. On your way back down the mountain stop in an olive grove for a typical Sicilian lunch with wine of the region.
Mount Stromboli, Aeolian Islands
The ‘Lighthouse of the Mediterranean’ take a trip out to the island of Stromboli and experience the unchanged lifestyle of the islanders. The trek up the volcano itself is hard going through the mountains harsh terrain, but the summit is well worth the effort. Take a chartered yacht out to sea to watch the volcano at sunset and in the dark.
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Just 90 km north-west of San José in the province of Alajuela, lies the Arenal National Park with the Arenal volcano as its centrepiece. Dormant or hundreds of years the volcano erupted unexpectedly in 1968, destroying the small town of Tabacon. It is today one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is currently rumbling away and spewing ash and smoke. It’s a great place to witness lava flows running down the sides of the volcano and the whole area is an extreme sports enthusiast’s paradise with whitewater rafting, zip/line canopy tours, waterfall rappelling, hiking, caving, and horseback riding. Additionally there’s plenty of opportunity to relax with wellness centres, lodges and spas built around the park’s geothermal hot springs.
On The Big Island of Hawaii, is the widest volcano in the world and has been actively erupting since 1980. It is surprisingly accessible and offers amazing views of spewing magma and lava flows. Its near neighbour Mauna Loa is a giant in comparison, but Kilauea is easier, safer and just as spectacular, and it’s possible to witness the lava pouring into the ocean.
Krakatoa – Indonesia
Between Java and Sumatra in the Indonesian ocean is the day of them all – Krakatoa. The 1883 eruption destroyed two-thirds of the island and caused tsunamis that killed 36,417 people. The explosion is considered to be the loudest sound ever heard by human ears. In recent times the emergence of the island Anak Kraktau (child of Krakatoa) has been growing at the rate of 13 cm every week since 1950.
Mount Bromo, Java Indonesia
The Bromo Massif is one of the most popular tourist attractions in East Java, Indonesia. On the fourteenth day of the Hindu festival of Yadnya Kasada, the Tenggeresse people of East Java climb the volcano to make sacrifices of fruit, vegetables and livestock, which they throw into the caldera. The site of violent recent eruptions it is today considered a stable volcano. If you’re looking for the quintessential tropical boys own adventure book volcano then this is it. The trail up is well sign posted and it is advisable to take a horse trek up.
Mount St. Helens - Washington State
North America’s most iconic volcano Mt. St. Helens has a violent recent history, which makes the summit somewhat inaccessible. However the whole area that is open to climbers is rich in natural beauty. The Native Americans have a wealth of history and lore associated with the mountain ant the trip is worth it from the human perspective alone. Tour the various abandoned pioneer outpost, many of which have been preserved just as they were.
Mount Pelee – Martinique
The former French colony was also the site of the 20th century’s most devastating eruption with the 1902 event killing 30,000 people and wiping out the city of Saint-Pierre within minutes of eruption. The lush jungle that covers the slopes of Mount Pelee, give the mountain a friendly air, but the volcano is still vey active, trek the rainforest flanks on your way to the summit to see the mountain’s volcanic spine rise 150 metres from the crater. There are still remains of Saint-Pierre to be found as the city was never rebuilt.
Mount Vesuvius – Italy
While you may not encounter fireworks or lava flows on this trek, the upper part of Mount Vesuvius is like another world. Road grants access to within 200 vertical metres of the summit after which progress must be made by foot or by bike. The vast crater at the summit of Vesuvius is like an immense Roman amphitheatre and is like nowhere else on earth. The whole surrounding area of Vesuvius is a national park and is just as rich in history and cultural wonders as natural. You can’t visit Vesuvius without taking in Pompeii, the most incredible living monument to the volcano’s destructive power.
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