The world has plenty of extinct volcanoes, but what’s the fun in seeing another plain mountain? What you thrill-seekers really want to see is an active volcano. Of course, it’s hard to predict when a volcano is going to erupt, which is why many dormant volcanoes are classified as active, even if they are not presently spewing lava. Still, if you want to see a volcano that has the potential blow, check out the following.
The Hawaiian islands themselves are the result of volcanic activity under the ocean. Kilauea on Hawaii’s Big Island continues to ooze molten rock out of its core. There are guided hikes or even helicopter tours that you can take to see the volcanic activity. Make sure to follow any dress code that your tour company recommends—the last thing you want is a singed toe or foot.
Don’t worry, you won’t be asked to spell the name of this Icelandic volcano, which last erupted in 2010, causing major disruptions to flights all across Europe. These days, you can buy helicopter or Jeep tours up to a ridge to get a fantastic view of the volcano and the surrounding areas. (Check out this video to learn how to pronounce this volcano’s terrific name).
Mount Vesuvius, Italy
Mount Vesuvius is probably most famous for burying an entire city, perfectly preserving the fleeing citizens. It’s been dormant since 1944, but many think that a truly gargantuan eruption will happen in the future. If you do visit Mount Vesuvius, hike to the top to catch a glimpse of the steam that still seeps out of its mouth.
Mount Merapi, Indonesia
Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia, erupting as recently as 2010, when it killed hundreds in the area. Today, the government has a small group of experts monitoring its activity, and tourists are prohibited from climbing the slopes (though some daredevils still manage to). From afar, the top of the volcano is shrouded in its own smoke, giving it a mysterious aura.
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Have you ever wanted to swim in the shadow of an active volcano? Head to Costa Rica to the town of Tabacon. The volcano completely destroyed this spa town in 1968, but it has since rebounded, welcoming tourists to enjoy all the natural amenities that resulted from the eruption. There are hot springs to soak in, hikes, birdwatching activities, and nature tours in the lush rainforests near the volcano.