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Authored by Agness Walewinder

Getting to see a volcano up close is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. Whether they’re dormant or active, standing on the crater fills you with wonder (and sometimes dread) as you gaze into the maw of these colossi.

For the purposes of this article, we’ve chosen five different countries with live volcanoes. Though some of these have more than one volcano currently active, so keep an eye out for that, too.

5 Countries With Active Volcanoes You Can Visit

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.

Hotels Near Mount Vesuvius

Andris Hotel Ercolano Naples

With a stay at Andris Hotel in Ercolano, you’ll be close to Museo Archeologico Virtuale and Ercolano Ruins. This hotel is within close proximity of Vesuvius National Park and Pietrarsa Railway Museum.

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Palazzo Rosenthal Vesuview

Located in Trecase, Palazzo Rosenthal Vesuview is close to Villa Poppaea and Boscoreale National Antiquarium. This 4-star hotel is within the vicinity of Villa of the Mysteries and Pompeii Excavation Site.

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5 Countries With Active Volcanoes You Can Visit

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.

Hotels Near Arenal Volcano

Hotel Campo Verde

Located in Arenal, Hotel Campo Verde is in the mountains and close to Arenal Hanging Bridges and Arenal Eco Zoo. This hotel is within close proximity of Costa Rica Sky Adventures and Butterfly Conservatory.

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Los Lagos Hotel Spa and Resort

Located in La Fortuna (Arenal Hot Springs), Hotel Los Lagos Spa & Resort is minutes from Baldi Hot Springs and Ecotermales Fortuna. This spa hotel is within close proximity of Arenal Natura Ecological Park and Ecoglide Arenal Park

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5 Countries With Active Volcanoes You Can Visit

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.

Hotels Near Mount Aso

Luna Observatory Auberge Mori No Atelier

Located in Minamiaso, Luna Observatory Auberge Mori No Atelier is in the mountains and close to Shirakawa Springs and Aso Hakusuigo Museum. This hotel is within the vicinity of Yusui Tunnel Park and Mount Nakadake.

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Kyukamura Minami-Aso

With a stay at Kyukamura Minami-Aso in Nakabaru, you’ll be in a national park and close to Yusui Tunnel Park. This ryokan is within the vicinity of Shirakawa Springs and Mount Nakadake.

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Japan – Mount Aso

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.

Hotels Near Mount Mayon

The Pepperland Hotel

With a stay at The Pepperland Hotel in Legazpi, you’ll be convenient to Albay Park and Wildlife and Bicol Heritage Park. This hotel is within close proximity of Lignon Hill and Magayon Art Gallery.

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Hotel Venezia

A stay at Hotel Venezia places you in the heart of Legazpi, convenient to Albay Park and Wildlife and Lignon Hill. This hotel is within close proximity of Bicol Heritage Park and Magayon Art Gallery.

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The Philippines – Mount Mayon

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.

Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption

Which One Will You Visit?

These are all pretty neat holiday destinations, even without the “benefit” of having volcanoes to visit. Other countries with active volcanoes include Mexico, Ethiopia, Ecuador and Indonesia (where you can try your hand trekking Mount Rinjani).

So, which one will you add to your list next? Tell us in the comments!

If you’ve already visited one of them, or enjoyed other such destinations, tell us about it. We’d love to hear how your experience went.

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As an intrepid adventurer and enthusiastic traveler, Agness has given her life to the exploration of the world. Finding ways to save money while traveling has given her the opportunity to see different parts of Asia, Europe, and beyond!

She dedicates her time to helping others realize this dream of traveling the world without wasting their hard-earned money. She holds a special love for China and Tibet so check out her blog to read more about it.

Photo credits: Featured header image by michi_s. Mount Vesuvius by Ross Elliott. Arenal Volcano by hherbzilla. Mt Aso by Travelbusy.com. Mount Mayon by Olivier & Pascale Noaillon Jaquet. Eyjafjallajökull by Bjarki Sigursveinsson.

    35 Comments

  1. Iceland is the one for me- since Iceland will be a stopover on my next next trip to Israel. (Not the next one- the one after that, in December).

    • Awesome Roy! Iceland is easily my favorite country in the world, though I haven’t visited in winter when you’ll be there. See the northern lights for me!

    • That’s great to hear, Roy. Hope you’ll enjoy your stay there. Let us know how you liked it.

  2. I enjoyed hiking the 1968 trails around Arenal Volcano but La Fortuna was too touristy for me. I think Nicaragua needs to be added to this list. Volcan Masaya, Telica and San Cristobal are all active and well worth visiting/hiking.

    • La Fortuna is still very touristy today – probably one of the biggest attractions in Costa Rica. Thanks for the tip on Nicaragua – since publishing this post I’ve also heard that the country has volcanoes you can sand board down!

    • Hiking is always a great idea! La Fortuna is indeed quite touristy these days but there are plenty of places around to enjoy as well. I haven’t heard of Telica and San Cristobal so let me check out these!

  3. I have just come back from visiting Vesuvius. Just down the road is the amazing site of Herculaneum and of course Naples. The area has a lot to offer a tourist as you point out.

    • Awesome Janine! So glad to hear you had a great time in Italy – so much to do in the area, we based ourselves in Naples for 5 days and had an incredible time :)

      Happy travels!

    • I’m going to Italy with my mom next month so I hope to explore some amazing spots as well. I’m happy you liked your stay. What was your favorite food, if I may ask? I’m a real foodie and going there with my mom, who is even bigger foodies than me, will give us a great opportunity to eat everything they have to offer!

  4. We have been to Vesuvius. Even from a distance, it looms over the region, and specially while driving through Naples, one can feel its silent presence.

    • Absolutely – definitely has an intimidating presence – visiting Pompeii was quite humbling to see the kind of devastation it could cause!

  5. We briefly looked at the visitor centre in Iceland for Eyjafjallajökull. I remember it causing all the disruption in Europe. We are going back to Iceland in August and are staying nearby so hope to have a tour.

    • Have an incredible trip to Iceland next month guys! I remember the eruption in 2010 too – I got stuck in the Solomon Islands because flights were grounded even all the way to the Asia Pacific. Crazy the immense power that mother nature has!!

  6. I have heard Chile has 2/3 of all the volcanos in the World. I m surprised you didnt include any of those in the post. Would have loved to learn about those too.

    • Wow, I actually didn’t know that! Perhaps not all of them are active? I’ll have to look it up – sounds like it might be a post in it’s own right just for Chile :)

    • I am sorry, but the fact is USA has the most volcanoes followed by Russia and Indonesia , but Indonesia has the most Active volcanoes

    • Fortunate for the US that not all 169 of those bad boys are active! :)

  7. Ahhh, the pull of the volcano is so magnetic. I know so many people who are fascinated by them. A friend of mine hiked Stromboli a few years ago and loved the adventure. What I like about volcanoes is the landscape that surrounds the volcano.

    • I definitely need to consider hiking Stromboli then! Thanks for your recommendations. :*

  8. Volcanoes are so fascinating! The only one on your list that we’ve seen is Eyjafjallajökull. Would love to check all of the others out sometime too. We recently hiked a volcano in the Galapagos and it was so amazing to see the topography and wildlife there!

    • Volcanoes are fascinating, I need to agree with you, Jenna. Which volcano are you planning to visit next?

  9. Great list Meg. I had no clue Japan had active volcanoes…must add it to my itinerary to the country :)

    • For sure! If you need more tips, let me know. :)

  10. Among the volcanoes mentioned here, we’ve only visited Mount Vesuvius, but would love to visit the ones in Japan and Iceland as well! Mount Mayon in the Philippines looks so beautiful, but I’m not sure if I want to hike up there with a gas mask… ? I’d probably just watch it from afar. By the way, we’ll be visiting Santorini tomorrow (also a volcano island) :)

    • Have an incredible time on Santorini Mei! Let us know if you experience any of the volcanoes there :) Hope you have the chance to take in Japan and Iceland soon!

  11. The closest I have been to an active volcano is the Soufriere Volcano in St Lucia. It emits steam and sulfur. I would love to visit Arenal in Costa Rica. It’s been on my list for quite a while now. I would probably also check out Mount Aso in Japan if I get the opportunity.

    • Wow, Soufriere Volcano sounds quite active!! I struggle with the balance of thinking it would be an incredible natural phenomenon to see an eruption, but then obviously the devastation it can cause as a result. If you can watch it emit steam and sulfur in a contained environment though that’s pretty cool!

      Hope you have the chance to visit Costa Rica and Japan too :)

  12. I have not seen any active volcanoes before. I’m going to Costa Rica in November. So I’ll definitely check out the Arenal Volcano!

    • Have an amazing trip to Costa Rica Cat! Definitely check out Arenal :)

  13. If there is something I love in this world, that is hiking volcanoes! I’ve been to Mount Mayon and it’s great… I also love: Telica in Nicaragua (huge crater), Acatenango in Guatemala (you can see the explosions and lava), La soufriere in Saint Vincent (you can climb down to the crater) and of course, Mount Bromo in Java (just incredible).

    Cheers,
    Miguel.

    • Awesome to hear from you Miguel! Sounds like you have quite the list of active volcanoes under your belt! Thanks for the recommendations on Telica, Acatenango, La soufriere, and Mount Bromo – might have to compile a Part II to this post!

  14. We haven’t been to any of these guys but they look impressive. Actually we did see the impossible to pronounce Icelandic one from a distance but that’s about it. Can’t believe Mt Mayon is in the Philippines! It looks like it should be in southern England or somewhere similar. Beautiful. We did an amazing trek up Volcan Acatenango in Guatemala earlier this year which provided epic views of a very active and erupting Volcan Fuego. So amazing to see molten lava exploding into the air!

    • Haha the Iceland one really is impossible to pronounce – I can’t say it for my life!!

      Wow, what an experience to have actually seen a volcanic eruption with lava spewing into the air! It’s obviously tragic if it affects the local community, but such a powerful natural phenomenon, with a certain element of raw beauty to it too. Would be incredible to see in person – thanks for the tip on Volcan Acatenango / Volcan Fuego. Amazing, it’s on my list!

  15. Why would anyone wanna visit active volcanoes? Hehe 😉

    • Haha adrenaline and excitement I suppose :D

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