Italy – Mount Vesuvius
Mount Vesuvius is probably one of the more famous volcanoes on our list. It has been “asleep” since 1944, which means means tourists have been flocking to see it ever since.
The car park is just 1 km (0.6 mi) from the volcano, and you can climb the rest of the way in about half an hour. There are guides around the area, but that’s about all you can find in terms of amenities. Then again, we wouldn’t expect bathrooms or souvenir shops built around such a place!
In terms of countries with live volcanoes, Italy has its fair share. There are two others on the island of Sicily: Mount Stromboli and Mount Etna. Both are pretty famous in their own respect.
Costa Rica – Arenal Volcano
There are over 100 volcanoes showing signs of activity in Costa Rica. Only five of them (Arenal included) would count as active today. While it had been dormant for hundreds of years, the 1968 eruption of Arenal left the nearby town of Tabacón in ruins.
Not many countries with active volcanoes open national parks dedicated to them after such events. But in 1991, Costa Rica did. The trails in the park will take you around both hardened lava fields and lush rainforests filled with all sorts of critters. Hikers will enjoy the surroundings, but regular travelers won’t feel left out.
You can find guided tours to take you to the hot springs and picturesque waterfalls in Arenal. Some even offer food and drink, so if you didn’t pack a lunch – that’s perfectly fine.
Japan – Mount Aso
Japan has about 110 volcanoes, the most famous one being Mount Fuji. While that one is a sublime spectacle in any season, it hasn’t erupted in over 300 hundred years. As such, we will concentrate on Mount Aso, as it is considered one of the most active.
Aso has one of the largest volcano craters (caldera), which is great for photo opps from all sorts of angles. Watch out though – areas around the crater can be closed off if the gas emissions get too intense. (Hint: They do, quite often.)
In any case, you will find two cable car lines in the Aso region: Nishi and Higashi. Both are easily accessible by bus or train, and make for great, inexpensive ways to explore the area. Otherwise, feel free to partake in hiking and camping in the beautiful surroundings.
If you’re feeling especially adventurous that day, you can go horseback riding, or even fly around in a helicopter! After a day of hardcore adventure, Japan has many fine dining restaurants that offer incredible food.
The Philippines – Mount Mayon
The islands hold about 37 volcanoes, 18 of them active. That means you have quite a lot to pick from. Mayon is the busiest of them all, but is most famous with tourists for its perfectly coned shape.
On the other hand, it isn’t quite that safe for visitors due to how many toxic fumes it lets out. Not only that, but it has a really steep slope that only master climbers could think of conquering.
Go for it if you feel up for the challenge – just be prepared to bring along a gas mask. Oh, and maybe climbing equipment. It’s probably a good idea to just admire the volcano from a distance.
Still, you can take an ATV tour of the area surrounding the volcano. Plus, you can take a zipline ride down from it. Just be careful not to visit between November and January. That’s the rainy season in the Philippines.
Iceland – Eyjafjallajökull
Try saying that three times fast! We couldn’t even get it right on the first try. Among the countries with live volcanoes, Iceland is quite a special case. The whole island was created by volcanoes found under the sea. In fact, there are about 130 of them scattered throughout the region.
Eyjafjallajökull stands out as one of the more prominent ones. If you remember, in 2010 its eruption caused massive flight disruptions all over Europe. The beautiful valleys of Thórsmörk were covered in volcanic ash for months on end. Fortunately, now they’re more beautiful than ever.
Besides the volcanic giants, you can feast your eyes on impressive geysers and lava formations. Not to mention all the glaciers. It’s really wonderful to see how fire and ice work together to chisel the land. Most tour operators will drive you around in a 4×4 vehicle, so don’t worry about any dangers that lie ahead.
Written by: Megan and Mike, professional travel bloggers and photographers with a focus on adventure. Originally published at: Mapping Megan.