The combination of travel and volcanoes has not mixed well in recent times. Many thousands of holiday makers were left stranded in 2010 after the eruption of an Icelandic volcano created a dust cloud which covered much of mainland Europe and severely interrupted air travel. For some, though, volcanoes and travel are a combination made in heaven, with increasing numbers of enthusiasts booking specific excursions to visit volcanoes around the world.
There are few natural phenomena that offer such a fascinating insight into the make-up of the planet upon which we live than volcanoes. To see a flow of lava emerge from the ground, a river of liquid fire from the depths of the earth, is an incomparable sight – and if this is something you think might interest you then you may want to consider a volcano travel break.
So before you start digging out your passport, changing up your travel money and renewing your travel insurance, take a look at this list of the top 5 volcano travel break destinations and see what takes your fancy.
Italy is home to three active volcanoes, the largest of which is Mount Etna, situated on the east coast of the Italian island of Sicily. Etna is one of the ‘liveliest’ volcanoes on the planet and is almost constantly active – making it one of the best places in Europe to observe smoking craters and volcanic activity first hand. While in Italy you may also want to consider a trip to Pompeii, the ruins of a city decimated by the eruption of the Mount Vesuvius volcano and an impressive reminder of the true power that volcanoes hold.
Situated on the boundary of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, Iceland is an island whose very creation is a result of many undersea volcanic eruptions. Pay a visit to the beautiful landscape of Iceland’s highlands and you can expect to see geysers, awe-inspiring glaciers and lava deserts alongside a selection of active volcanoes. You may also want to visit the site of the volcano that caused more pronunciation problems for newsreaders during the ash cloud crisis of 2010 than possibly any other name ever – Eyjafjallajokull.
The mountainous Kamchatka region, located in the Russian Far East, is home to an incredible landscape of volcanoes and volcanic activity. One of the standout volcanoes of the region is the Mutnovsky Volcano, a combination of many merged craters that spew forth great jets of superheated water and plumes of sulphurous smoke.
Hawaii, like Iceland, is a group of islands said to have been ‘created by fire’ – formed after massive undersea volcanic activity in the Pacific. Quite apart from its reputation as a paradise island, which makes it a popular destination for many, Hawaii is undoubtedly a Mecca for volcano lovers. The Kilauea volcano on the Big Island is the most active volcano on the planet and – conditions permitting – you will be able to visit one of Kilauea’s active lava streams as it pours dramatically into the sea.
Sitting on the border of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the Central American country of Costa Rica is another beautiful place that has many areas of volcanic interest for you to discover. Hikes to see the volcanoes of Costa Rica will take you from jungle to peak, through some of the country’s magnificent national parks. There, you can visit landmarks such as the Irazu Volcano and its stunning green lake.
Have you visited any of these volcanoes?
Photos by: Wikimedia commons