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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.