10 Breathtaking Volcanoes in the World To Visit

  • UPDATED May 21, 2018

Volcanoes might dread you, but they are one of nature’s phenomena that manage to delight you as well as frighten you at the same time. Mother Earth’s very own light show, these wonders that have tormented and toyed with humanity throughout history, are in fact mesmerizing and a prospective eternal memory, when seen in their subtle glory. While some are feared, some cultures worship these, albeit, none cease to guarantee strikingly breathtaking views. Igniting your imagination, take a cue from these 10 volcanoes in the world you can visit, given their easy access, incredible beauty, and alluring grandeur. Some active, some not very active, this play with nature is ought to be your once-in-a-lifetime moment. 

1. Sakurajima, Japan


Image source: flickr.com/Soumei Baba  

Literally translating to cherry blossom island ("Sakura” means cherry blossoms and "Jima” means island) Sakurajima is located in Japan’s Kagoshima Bay. Featuring a picturesque 1117-meter peak that appears to rise from the sea’s surface, this volcano is very susceptible to major eruption soon due. Realizing this the official authorities have prohibited visits within 2 kilometers of the crater. However, the distance is enough to marvel at its beauty, which is bound to become a beast one day. The volcano and its surroundings are abundant with a number of hikes and trails around along with hot springs and a visitor center.

How to reach here?

Take a ferry from Kagoshima. The ferry is a 15-minute ride and costs 160 yen.

2. The Maelifell Volcano, Iceland


Image source: wikimedia.org  

One of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world, the Maelifell Volcano, Iceland is located on the edge of Myrdalsjökull glacier. With the perfect cone (also the perfect cone volcano in the world) and a verdant green surface covered in moss, this tall volcano creates a surreal landscape. With a lot of things to in the Myrdalsjökull glacier park, you will constantly have something to look forward to. Post June is a good time to visit, as the snow has melted and roads too have dried out. A visit here is an unforgettable experience, no less than a journey to heaven! 

How to reach here?

There are many options to reach the Maelifell. You can reach up either from the east or west of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull. It is essential that you have a 4x4 vehicle given the quicksand and melting water from the glacier that you will encounter on en route. Many organizations arrange tours to the volcano, driven by experts. Reykjavik is the closest place from where you can ideally start with your travel plans. After the drive, you are required to hike up a small ascend to reach the volcano. 

3. Whakaari (White Island), Bay of Plenty, New Zealand


Image source: wikimedia.org  

This may not appear to be a really big volcano until you know that it is in fact really large, with more than half of the volcano being submerged. Measuring at a respectable 1,600m above the sea in the Bay of Plenty, only a 321m is visible. The gap in the crater walls allows visitors to disembark straight into the volcano without having to do any climbing. The volcano lies at 49km off the North Island coast. Expect to see fumaroles expelling steam and hot gasses, if you happen to be on a guided tour, you will be provided with masks. You will also see a lot of hot rocks, hot springs, an acid pool, bubbling mud and a lot of seabirds! 

How to reach here?

Since the White island is privately owned it cannot be landed on without permission. Nevertheless, it is easily accessible by authorized tourist operators. You can visit the island from any city in the Bay of Plenty. 

4. Arenal, Costa Rica


Image source: flickr.com/Arturo Sotillo  

One of the top 10 active volcanoes in the world, Mount Arenal in Costa Rica is also one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world. Magically mounting from the lush surrounding forests, the volcano is flanked by hardened lava fields and exotic flora. Last erupted in 1968 the volcano still gushes ash and sometimes lava. The slopes of the mountain offer great opportunities for various activities - rafting, swimming in the hot springs, waterfall rappelling, mountain bike riding and trekking. February to April is the best time to visit Arenal.  

How to reach here?

This remarkable volcano is accommodated within the 29,960-acre Arenal Volcano National Park. The entrance fee to the national park is $6. The quiet town of La Fortuna is 4 miles from the volcano. It’s 16 miles from Ciudad Quesada and 75 miles from San José. If you drive from San José, you will take around 3 hours to get here.  

5. Sierra Negra, Ecuador


Image source: wikipedia.org  

Located in the dreamy Isabela Island, the Sierra Negra is huge! With a caldera of 10-kilometers, this is one of the top 10 biggest volcanoes in the world, ranking second. Here you will also get to see the region’s incredible wildlife that happens to be Isabela’s most popular eco-attraction. Hiking in this region is one of the best things to do for panoramic vistas. The Sierra Negra caldera to Volcano Chico especially takes you through an unreal landscape dotted with active volcanic zones. Adventure lovers, gear up for an exciting volcano holiday!!

How to reach here?

The access will take you through La Esperanza Town, near the freeway from Puebla to Veracruz, from where the ascent of 19.9 kilometers starts. This road is located between the states of Veracruz and Puebla. 

This is a great half-day hike, that will take you about 5-6 hours to ascend-descend. Stretching at 12 kilometers, the hike that is best undertaken in possibly clear weather. But the clouds don’t cease to offer the best views of the volcano either, with the peak peeking from above the clouds!  

6. Mt St. Helens Volcano, Washington


Image source: wikimedia.org  

One of the top dangerously beautiful volcanoes in the USA, Mt St. Helens Volcano had historically devastated USA in 1980. Located very close to Seattle, this volcano has a characteristic horseshoe crater. Offering some spectacular sights and amazing helicopter tours, this is a must-see once in the mountainous Washington area. May to November being warm and dry seasons, are a good time to visit, while winters are wet and unfavorable. 

How to reach here?

Mt St. Helens lies at a mere 54 kilometers from Seattle, in the Skamania County. This is a popular climb for both advance as well as beginners, with most climbers using the Monitor Ridge Route from Climbers Bivouac. People in good physical condition who are comfortable scrambling on steep, rugged terrain can undertake this trek within 12 hours, both ways. 

7. Mount Mayon, Philippines


Image source: wikipedia.org  

An evidently symmetrical, Mount Mayon has wonderful steep slopes and is still pretty active with frequent eruptions. This one is one of the top 10 deadliest volcanoes, so usually only the adventure connoisseurs will take on this advent. The climate is ideal to visit all year around, with no extreme seasonal changes. Located on the Luzon Island in the Philippines you can also visit the Mayon Volcano Natural Park while here. 

How to reach here?

Rent an airplane from Caticlan airport to Legaspi City. There are some land and sea routes too from Caticlan to Mayon. Caticlan, on Panay to Looc on Tablas by boat, on to San Agustin by road, to Romblon on Romblon island by boat will take you about two days. 

8. Etna, Sicily, Italy

Image source: wikipedia.org  

Frequently spitting out ash and lava, the Etna is yet another beautiful Italian volcano. It offers regular pyrotechnic shows, however, visitors can choose to get relatively close to the action by hiking its rugged flanks. Interestingly, this is also Europe’s tallest and most popular volcano. 400 craters, taking an adventure tour to a waterfall, created by lava, speleological tours and, of course, climbing Etna; are some of the best things you can do here. April to November is a good time to behold the beautiful vistas this volcano offers. 

How to reach here?

The most-undertaken route up is on the south side via the Catania suburb of Nicolosi. From here onwards you can drive, cycle or take the twice daily AST bus starting in Catania, up to the Rifugio Sapienza (at 1,923meters). Here you can buy tickets for the combined cable car and 4x4 bus trip of Funivia dell’Etna (€60 per person), to the highest-possible level. This ticket includes a guided tour around a large, smoking crater next to an observatory.

The Circumetnea Railway offers scenic three-hour trips around the base of Etna, other than the usual hikes that are undertaken, it costs about €8 per person, taking three hours or you can opt for these Mount Etna tours.

9. Kīlauea, Hawaii


Image source: pixabay.com  

Beautifully lighting up the atmosphere, the Kilauea might not be the biggest volcano in Hawaii, but it’s probably the most spectacular one! Not surprisingly, the volcano receives nearly three million visitors a year. It has been belching out huge quantities of deep crimson, slow-moving lava almost continuously since 1983, however, catastrophic explosions are not Kīlauea’s style, it is more soft and free flowing. As the night draws, the volcano comes alive in all its magically subtle glory. 

How to reach here?

The best way to reach here is by car. There is no public transport within the area, so the choice for exploring rests between a car hire or private excursions.

Some FYI - Entry to the national park is $10 per vehicle and $5 for individuals on foot or bike. 

10. Nisyros, Dodecanese, Greece


Image source: wikipedia.org  

Last but not the least, a comparatively less popular and definitely the least active volcano in the world, the Nisyros has not much to it, than being credited under cool volcanoes names! Last erupted in 1888, you can still observe magma rising beneath from the island. The volcano has a 3-kilometer-wide caldera with active fumaroles, hot gasses fuming up through mud, and hot springs. Never the less, Dodecanese in south-eastern Aegean remains to be the sunniest corner in Greece. 

How to reach here? 

You can easily reach the island by a ferry from Kos, Piraeus, Tilos and Leros. Boats - ferries and charters, from Kos leave from Kardamena, the shorter transit time of one hour, from €24 and Kos Town from €9. There is a frequent, short, €2 bus journey to the crater from the port of Mandraki as well. 

The fire in the volcanoes is sure to light up your lives. So behold, as you embark on this beautiful advent! 

Featured image source: pixabay.com


A deep-dyed Piscean, Seema is a dreamer. This extends to the fact that she is seldom in another world of her's or dreaming of the place she would rather be. A wild-child at heart and a keen observer otherwise, Seema's free-spirited psyche is eternally quenching for new experiences. There is no poison for her as restorative as Life, she is the one who will give you the cliched 'I-am-high-on-life', should you offer her a drink. She gets hungover on the feel of a new place, food and conversations with strangers! All this adding to the way she feels and writes!

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