There are hundreds of volcanoes across the planet, many of which lie in slumber, dormant for thousands of years but a fair proportion are still active and could explode within our life time. Beautiful but deadly, they have always piqued our interest with settlements and cities having been built in their shadows for many years. As well all know, the results of a major eruption can be catastrophic so here are some top volcanoes to visit before they erupt!
Mt Etna, Sicily
Standing tall at just under 11,000ft, Mount Etna is one of the highest volcanoes in Europe and can be found on the Italian isle of Sicily. It’s also one of the world’s most active volcanoes with a record of eruptions spanning 3,500 years and is seemingly continually spewing smoke or small lava plumes, with a number of minor eruptions having already been reported throughout 2013! Travel here sooner rather than later and take in the beauty of Sicily, with cities like Catania, Trapani and Palermo to explore as well as a variety of great outdoor activities and more to enjoy during a trip here.
After the Volcanic Ash Cloud incident of 2010 when Eyjafjallajökull erupted, Iceland earned itself a bit of an unfavourable reputation when it comes to volcanoes. That aside, it’s becoming an ever increasingly popular place to holiday thanks to its outstanding natural beauty, great aurora viewing and outdoor activities such as glacier hiking, whale watching and more. Another of Iceland’s volcanoes, Kverkfjöll last erupted in 1959 and 1968 and following a number of minor earthquakes in 2010, suspicion is rife with the potential for another eruption in the near future. Get your visit in quick before ash wreaks havoc with European air space again!
Mt Merapi, Indonesia
With a name that translates to “Mountain of Fire”, Mt Merapi is undoubtedly the most active volcano in Indonesia with a record of almost 70 explosions since 1548. In fact, it is thought to have been active for more than 10,000 years! The city of Yogyakarta is relatively close to the slopes and has seen the devastating effects of fast moving lava first hand but the locals are convinced that spirits will warn them if or when a devastating eruption is due. That said this majestic and powerful beauty is located in a stunning area of Indonesia and would make a wonderful destination to travel to.
Mt Fuji, Japan
Mt Fuji is perhaps one of the world’s most easily recognised volcanoes, despite not having erupted for the last 300 years. Earthquakes that occurred in 2011 have caused scientists to suggest that tectonic plates beneath Mt Fuji are under pressure however, therefore an eruption could occur in coming years; all the more reason to bring your trip to Japan forward! Towering at 12,388ft, Fuji is a sight to behold and with the metropolis of Tokyo as well as endless traditional towns and villages to visit too, a trip to Japan will be unforgettable.
Mt Vesuvius, Italy
Famous for the devastation unleashed on Pompeii following the AD 79 eruption, Mt Vesuvius is widely considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Millions of people live beneath it, making it the most densely populated volcanic region in the world. It was thought to have an eruption cycle of just 20 years but the last recorded explosion was in 1944. Located just 5 miles from Naples and within easy reach of Rome and beautiful countryside, travel here and take in this fabulous region which has so much to offer!
Mt Popocatépetl, Mexico
Mt Popocatépetl might be nicknamed Popo for short, but it is the second tallest volcano in North America. It was particularly active during the early 1920’s and then woke up again in 2000 but has since lain silent. This bout of slumber won’t last forever however, so travel here while you can! Mexico City is a mere 40 miles from Popo and as a country chock full of fascinating sights, a trip here will not disappoint.
Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia
Nevado del Ruiz last awoke in 1985 with truly terrible consequences, rendering that eruption the worst natural disaster in Colombia’s history. She has since remained silent and with early warning systems in place now, it is unlikely that an eruption would be anywhere near as deadly. As a country high on traveller’s wish lists, with the capital city Bogota and a number of other fascinating towns and cities to explore, don’t let the threat put you off visiting this fantastic part of the world.
Yellowstone National Park is world famous for its unmatched beauty but also for the threat of a super volcano eruption. An eruption of this kind has never before been seen by mankind, with the last known eruption having occurred nearly 700,000 years ago. Yellowstone has formed a caldera rather than the traditional cone shaped associated with volcanoes but the area is still an outstanding area of natural beauty so do add it to your bucket list!
With technology continually improving, eruptions are now easier to track and predict than ever before so you can travel to these stunning locations with little fear of an unexpected lava explosion. That said the possibility of an eruption is a worthwhile excuse to cross these destinations off your travel bucket list lickety-split!