Climbing to the top of a volcano has been the highlight of many of our trips. There’s something magical about the views from the top of these forces of nature. The world has the most unique and famous volcanoes to visit and hike on every continent, offering amazing experience to outdoor lovers and adventurous travelers. To uncover the most beautiful volcano experiences, we’ve asked the some of the world’s leading travel bloggers to help create the ultimate bucket list with the best volcanoes to visit around the world.
- #1 Camping on the Brukkaros Volcano in Namibia
- #2 Haleakala Volcano at Maui Hawaii
- #3 Climbing the Cova crater at the island Santo Antao
- #4 Mount Bromo in Indonesia
- #5 Mount Longonot in Kenya
- #6 Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania
- #7 Volcano boarding at the Cerro Negro in Nicaragua
- #8 Camping the active Pacaya volcano in Guatemala
- #9 Nyiragongo volcano hike in Congo
- #10 Hiking the Acatenango volcano in Guatemala
- #11 Mount Vesuvius at Naples in Italy
- #12 Sakurajima volcano in Kagoshima in Japan
- #13 Etna volcano in Sicily
- #14 Hiking Volcán Chaitén in Chile
- #15 Thrihnukagigur in Iceland
- #16 Stromboli volcano in Silicy
- #17 Hiking to Rinjani volcano in Indonesia
- #18 Vestmannaeyjar in Iceland, a must-visit volcanic island
- #19 Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh
- #20 Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote
- #21 The active Santiaguito volcano in Guatemala
- #22 Diamond Head on the island of Oahu in Hawaii
- #23 Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador
- #24 Khorgo Volcano in Mongolia
- #25 Tongariro National Park in New Zealand
- #26 Mount Benbow and Marum at Vanuatu
- #27 Volcan Masaya in Nicaragua
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#1 Camping on the Brukkaros Volcano in Namibia
One of the most amazing volcanoes to hike and camp is the Brukkaros in Namibia. There’s hardly any information about visiting this volcano. We heard about an off the beaten track and abandoned camping spot on the volcano, but we couldn’t find any decent information online or in our travel books. We decided to give it a go and head our there early in the morning. We were happy to have a 4×4 Toyota Hillux, as the road uphill was the worst.
As soon as we made it to the camping spots close to the crater, we knew this was going to be an unforgettable experience. Can you imagine? Sleeping on a volcano with no one around. In a place where observatories were built, as the stars are so bright here. Without running water or electricity, just you, the old volcano and the stars. It was a night we will never forget!
#2 Haleakala Volcano at Maui Hawaii
by Zach and Julie from Ruhls of the Road
Haleakala is an epic volcano on the island of Maui in Hawaii. This volcano makes for an incredible destination for a few reasons. First off, Maui’s famous Hana Highway drives right along the face of Haleakala, taking you to many stunning beaches and waterfalls at the base of the volcano. On top of that, literally, the peak of the volcano is the site of the most wonderful sunrise in the world.
The Hana Highway ends at the entrance of Haleakala National Park, where you’ll have the chance to visit the Oheo Pools, also known as the Seven Sacred Pools. There is a hike on the Pipiwai Trail here that takes you through a thick bamboo forrest and spits you out at Waimoku Falls, a 400 foot behemoth of a waterfalls. The experience is truly special.
The peak of Haleakala is best visited bright and early for the sunrise. You will need a permit, as the parking lot at the peak is relatively small and cannot accommodate the demand for sunrise visitors without a permit system. Get a permit, and on the day of your sunrise visit wake up a few hours before dawn. Drive the switchbacks up to the peak, making sure to bring along warm clothes, as the 10,000 foot altitude gets cold even in tropical Hawaii. A sunrise tour on Haleakala is especially epic because the peak extends above the clouds. The endless sea of white, puffy clouds actually makes the floor of the view, as the sun rises above the clouds it paints the sky an incredible array of reds, pinks, purples, and blues. The view of sunrise here is the best. Not just saying that. It is the best in the world.
Haleakala on Maui, Hawaii is an epic destination for a volcano tour. Hike the pools and waterfalls at the bottom, enjoy the sunny beaches, and see a sunrise above the clouds, you’ll never forget it. Enjoy!
#3 Climbing the Cova crater at the island Santo Antao
by Mario from Rest And Recuperation
Volcanoes are one of the most fascinating natural elements. When we are young we cannot understand how “fire” can spur from a mountain. When we get older, we are still incredibly attracted by that luminous solid-liquid and very shiny magma. Volcanoes offer hike lovers and adventurous travellers beautiful hikes with spectacular views on the top.
One of my favourite volcanoes is the now extinct crater of Cova in Santo Antao, one of the islands of Cape Verde. The most beautiful way to discover it the two-hours steep climb to the top, starting at Vale do Paul. The view will be incredible: on one side the sea, with the neighbour islands of Sao Vicente and, if the sky is clear, Santa Luiza. On the other side the Cova crater, now cultivated by local villagers.
Before heading back down to the other side of the Vale do Paul, be sure to stop for a great meal at Biosfera Amor do Dia. This little self-sustaining farm was built by an Italian man who fell in love with Santo Antao. The food is great, as they grow their vegetables and have their own animals, all cooked with an Italian touch. If you are not vegetarian, the slow-cooked pork will be the perfect reward for the hard climb!
#4 Mount Bromo in Indonesia
by Bradley from Dream Big, Travel Far
Hands down, our Mount Bromo sunrise tour is the best volcano experience we have ever had! Sunrises are always truly wondrous moments to witness, but it’s hard to imagine there being a more beautiful or picturesque location than Mount Bromo. As the sun slowly rises and the mist from the valley rises up, the landscape before you looks almost as if it’s been painted.
A fantastic array of reds, oranges and browns merge together and it really does take your breath away. Getting there is relatively easy, and multiple tour companies run every day from the city of Malang. They also run from many other cities and towns in East Java but this seems the most popular starting point.
The drive there takes around 2 hours, depending on traffic heading up to the viewpoint spot. By the time of sunrise, the famous volcano is filled with hundreds of fellow travellers looking to witness the spectacle. It gets very cold, but luckily there are locals there selling jackets, blankets and hot tea!
After the sunrise itself, your tour guide usually takes you back down to another spot in the valley where you can climb up to the Ijen crater. From here, you can stare down into an active volcano, which was in itself another wonderful experience that really topped the whole morning off.
#5 Mount Longonot in Kenya
by Nadine from Live Travel Kenya
Kenya is a land full of volcanoes. The Great Rift Valley, an 8000 mile long scar that runs down the face of Africa and wholly across Kenya, is peppered with volcanoes and volcanic activity. In the Rift geysers bubbles, hot springs abound and volcanoes are sprinkled like dust.
The closest volcano to the capital city of Nairobi is Mount Longonot and it’s an easy day trip to hike the dormant monolith. A thrilling drive from the highlands of Nairobi down the side of the Rift will afford you views of Longonot and its sister volcano Suswa. Longonot’s crater is easily visible from a distance. As the volcano is dormant its crater is filled with dense forest and native wild animals. Hike up the crater rim with your tour guide, then walk it’s 7km circumference for incredible views over the Rift and down into the crater itself. The volcano lies in a National Park and you are likely to see much of Kenya’s wildlife, from buffaloes, elands, lion, leopard, bushbucks, common zebra, giraffe and Grant’s gazelles.
Whilst Longonot is just a 90-minute drive from Nairobi, if you wish to stay the night you have a number of options. There is a basic but secure Kenya Wildlife Campsite within Mount Longonot National Park, or head to nearby Naivasha where you can choose from elegant houses and tiny cottages. Try Carnellys or The Ranch House for food. Remember to bring water and sunscreen on the hike as it can get very hot in the Rift. And don’t forget your camera.
#6 Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania
by Joanna from The World in My Pocket
Ngorongoro Crater is probably one of the most famous volcanoes to visit in Africa. The crater was formed millions of years ago, when a giant super volcano exploded and collapsed on itself. It is the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera.
Ngorongoro is a Conversation Area protected by the Government of Tanzania. It is one of the most exciting places to go on a budget safari in Tanzania because of the high chances of seeing all the big five. If you have only one choice of a safari park during your trip to Tanzania, Ngorongoro Crater should be it.
The trips to the crater are usually done in the morning when the wildlife is just waking up. The atmosphere inside is cold and wet, very often misty in the early morning, which make the descent into the crater even more spectacular. The crater floor is at 1,800 meters above the sea level, which makes is very different climatically from the rest of the safari parks.
In the middle of the crater there is a seasonal salt lake, which is frequented by thousands of pink flamingos. The best time to go to Ngorongoro Crater is during the wet season. That is when there are the most chances of spotting rhinos. During my safari trip to Ngorongoro I spotted 8!
#7 Volcano boarding at the Cerro Negro in Nicaragua
by Julie from Why Not Ju
Nicaragua has a lot of volcanos you can admire, hike, and camp on. However, the volcano experience on Cerro Negro really stands out as something unique. Cerro Negro means black hill, and you just have to take one look at the volcano to understand how it got its name. The volcano is mostly covered in black volcanic gravel, contrasting to the green forest and nature surrounding it.
Cerro Negro is the youngest volcano in Central America and first appeared in 1850. It’s located in a National Park close to the town of Malpaisillo just a 45 minutes’ drive from the bigger city of Leon. The volcano measures 728 meters above the ocean and is still active. Apart from being pretty unique in itself, Cerro Negro is also the only place you can engage in the activity of volcano boarding, in the world.
To experience volcano boarding, you can book a tour from the town of Leon. The tour company will pick you up in the morning and provide you with boards, overalls, glasses, and gloves. You then drive the short trip to Cerro Negro. You hike up the volcano carrying your gear before you get on your board and slide down the side of the volcano. The hike up is not more than 45 minutes to one hour, but make sure to take in the amazing views along the way. If you’re lucky you will even see the ground, close to the crater, smoke, and it will be warm to the touch. The experience of sliding down the side of a volcano is thrilling, to say the least. Some of the tour companies even measure your speed as you go down. Visiting Cerro Negro is definitely not your normal volcano experience, but it’s so absolutely one for the books.
#8 Camping the active Pacaya volcano in Guatemala
One of the most famous volcanoes to hike in Guatemala is the Pacaya. Camping under a beautiful starry sky, roasting marshmallows over lava and impressive bursts of red lava. Camping at the Pacaya is a unique experience that you will never forget!
Guatemala has three active volcanoes, but the Pacaya is the only one that you can safely climb to near the crater. The evening hike in the dark – only possible if you book a tour with an overnight stay – is one of the most spectacular things we have ever done. The huge lava flows from the top down, the lava splashes from the crater and the thick clouds of smoke. Wow! When it got a bit foggy, it didn’t spoil the fun at all. The fog created an amazing red glow around the lava and volcano.
#9 Nyiragongo volcano hike in Congo
by Kesi from Kesi To and Fro
The Nyiragongo volcano hike in the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most impressive treks because the largest lava lake in the world is at the top. Lava is already cool, but witnessing a vast lava lake is memorizing. I could watch the lava crack and pop for hours. The hike is intermediate and takes around 6 hours to climb to the top. You spend the night in huts on the summit, so that you can watch the volcano throughout the night until you want to sleep.
The Nyiragongo volcano is in the Virunga National Park. Most people fly into Kigali, Rwanda, and make their way to Goma, DRC. It’s vital to plan this trip in advance because you need to sort visas and book a permit to climb the volcano.
There are budget guesthouse options to stay the night before your trek in Goma, with rooms around $30. It’s also possible to stay in Virunga, which have more luxurious and comfortable hotels. Also, by staying in Virunga the night before, you can watch the volcano light up.
Hiking the Nyiragongo volcano is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life, and I’ve been traveling around the world for 5 years!
#10 Hiking the Acatenango volcano in Guatemala
by Emma from Journey of a Nomadic Family
There are thirty-seven volcanoes in Guatemala, including four around Antigua. The Fuego is still active, erupting in splurts daily, spewing out clouds of dust ash. At night the embers rise high into the air and are easily viewable from Antigua. So, how do you fancy camping at the same height as Fuego and watching it erupt throughout the night? Well you can! The Acatenango is a volcano that is attached to Fuego and although hiking it is a challenge, it’s definitely worth the effort.
Attached to Fuego, Acatenango has two peaks: the northern summit, Yepocapa, stands at 3,830 metres and the southern higher summit, Pico Mayer, at 3,976 metres. If you camp over night, the hike to the base camp will be broken into three sections. The Oak Forest sits at the base of the volcano, about half way up you’ll pass through the Cloud Forest and then the higher you hike you’ll find the Pine and Sub-Alpine Forests.
This hike starts steep, middles out marginally flatter in the middle and then the last ascent to the summit for sunrise is an absolute killer! If you have no experience hiking, I’d opt for Pacaya but Acatenango is certainly doable if you’re an experienced hiker and even with kids. I did this hike with an 8 and 9 year old who loved it and still talk about it.
Be prepared to start early on both days. You’ll need to think about a 7am start for the first day and if you want to summit the volcano the next morning for sunrise, you’ll be getting up at about 4am! It is a slog to get out of the warm sleeping bag that early but it’s definitely worth it to watch the sun rise over Antigua and with an erupting volcano right next to you!
#11 Mount Vesuvius at Naples in Italy
by Melissa Douglas of High Heels and a Backpack
Mount Vesuvius is the huge active volcano that looms above the city of Naples in Southern Italy. You can see the famous volcano from practically all corners of the Campania capital and as you stroll down the promenade of Spacca Napoli, you will see it smoking away in the distance.
Vesuvius has erupted over 50 times in its history. However, the most historic and tragic eruption happened in 79AD when an eruption destroyed the nearby Roman cities of Pompei and Herculaneum.
Hiking to the top of Vesuvius is a popular excursion for visitors to Naples. You can enjoy spectacular views over the Bay of Naples and across to the islands of Capri and Procida from the top. It is possible to conquer Vesuvius independently or by guided tour. Additionally, you can either hike to the top or take a jeep part-way up.
Hiking at Vesuvius is relatively easy, even if you don’t consider yourself to be of incredible physical fitness. The route journey from the base to the upper craters is 3.3km and although there is a steep incline, the paths are very well-built and well-marked. Some of the scenery as you ascend is so unusual that you feel as though you are traversing through another planet.
There is no camping permitted at the top of along the ascent to Vesuvius – this is an active volcano after all! You can easily access Vesuvius from Naples city center by taking the bus from Piazza Piedigrotta and getting off at the Vesuvio stop.
#12 Sakurajima volcano in Kagoshima in Japan
by Cass from Cassie The Hag
Visiting Kagoshima, the most Southern point of Kyushu island in Japan, is assuredly a unique experience. In fact, the huge volcano which takes its name from Sukrajima Island just off the coast, is known to cover the entire city in ash. Sakurajima itself translates to ‘cherry blossom volcano’ and formed over 22000 years ago. You can experience the area in one or two days while travelling around Kyushu.
While the plummets of smoke booming from the volcano dominate the city skyline, you can also visit the island itself. A ferry from the city takes only fifteen minutes and then you can choose to walk, cycle or take buses around the loop of the island. There are many observation points and interesting activities, such as unique sculptures, to visit, but the star of the show is looming active volcano.
Back in Kagoshima, you can also take one of its famous hot steam sand baths. This has been a tradition here for 300 years and essentially means getting buried on the beach in the sand. The hot spring water, powered by the Japanese volcano, is said to improve circulation amongst other medical benefits. Most of all, people do it for the unique and relaxation qualities of this experience, though it’s popular as a beauty treatment too.
#13 Etna volcano in Sicily
by Veronika from Travel Geekery
Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe (when not counting Caucasus), belongs to one of the best places to visit on the island and should be a firm part of any Sicily itinerary.
The main route to Etna takes you to Rifugio Sapienza area at the elevation of 1,900 meters. From there, you can hike to various craters. Even just by the parking lot there are several craters within a walking distance – those from 1983, 1986 and 2001 eruptions. The area is all open and you can walk around freely.
On a clear day, it’s good to pay 30 EUR for a cable car ride up. The 15-minute ride takes you to an elevation of 2,400 meters. The highest you can get to is 2,900 meters – local guided tours can get you there or you can hike, but it’s quite difficult. You must wear sturdy footwear.
The weather on Etna is often very different from the seaside. The volcano also keeps fuming, so the top is often encroached in a thick mist and it’s usually quite cold.
At the time of our visit it even rained but we still had a great time exploring the craters at Rifugio Sapienza. We couldn’t see more than just the bottom of the cable car and thus decided not to take it up.
#14 Hiking Volcán Chaitén in Chile
by Steph from Worldly Adventurer
Chile is a country dotted in volcanoes, with anywhere between 90 and 105 believed to be active at this moment in time. Although Volcán Villarrica in the Lakes District gets all the attention, there’s another volcano that is both easier to climb and has far more spectacular views: Volcán Chaitén.
Situated in Pumalín National Park in the very north of the Carretera Austral, Volcán Chaitén is one of Patagonian Chile’s most magnificent volcanoes. It also has an unsettling history, having only been discovered to exist back in 2008, when it exploded with an ash column 30,000 metres high, thus causing thousands to be evacuated from the region. While it remains active, it’s a lot safer now and hiking to its gaping, three-kilometre-wide crater where you can watch as smoke puffs languidly from the lava dome is a thrilling Patagonian hiking experience.
The hike is a challenging, 4.4 km round-trip that should take you three hours, with the path climbing up through what was once a thick forest but is now just a scattering of matchstick tree trunks that were charred in the explosion. From the top, the views of the surrounding national park and the Patagonian fjords beyond are dramatic and breath-taking in equal measures.
To get here, you’ll need to hitchhike from Chaitén to the trailhead, some 24 kilometres north of town. Chaitén is also the best place to stay unless you have your own camping equipment (which I strongly recommend everyone includes on their packing list for Patagonia), as there are a number of campgrounds in the national park that charge a nominal fee.
#15 Thrihnukagigur in Iceland
by Jennifer & Tim from Luxe Adventure Traveler
If you’re as obsessed with volcanoes as we are, then you can’t miss visiting Thrihnukagigur in Iceland. It’s the only volcano of its kind in the world, and the only dormant volcano that you can go inside of. Aptly dubbed as Inside the Volcano, it’s an incredible experience and a must-do when visiting Iceland.
What particularly makes the unpronounceable Thrihnukagigur so unique is that the magma chamber is typically sealed with hardened lava after an eruption. But that oddly didn’t happen with Thrihnukagigur, which erupted over 4000 years ago. The massive hollow magma chamber was only discovered in 1974, and has only in recent years been opened to the public. You can visit only on a guided tour and getting there is a bit of an adventure itself.
Located in Iceland’s Highlands in Bláfjöll Nature Reserve, it’s only accessible from mid-May through mid-October. Reaching the peak of the volcano requires a 3-kilometer trek across a lava field, where high winds often make standing difficult. It’s well worth fighting against the wind, though, as you finally descend in another world in the 120 meters (394 feet) deep chamber. Small groups of a maximum of six are lowered in to the magma chamber in a basket elevator. You then have some time to explore the magnificent environment left behind after the lava left the chamber. And waiting back at the base camp is hot drinks and a bowl of Icelandic stew for a much needed warm up.
#16 Stromboli volcano in Silicy
by Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
Mount Stromboli gives its name to the island, one of the smallest of the Aeolian Archipelago, which you will find north of Sicily. Reached by hydrofoil from Milazzo (at about one hour drive from Catania), this is one of the best places in the world for volcano experiences. This is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, constantly smoking and erupting on a daily basis.
The hike to the crater of Mount Stromboli is an incredible adventure. For obvious safety reasons, you need a guide for that. Daily guided hikes depart from the village every afternoon – the time of departure varies based on the time of year, as the whole purpose is to get to the crater in time for sunset and to admire the lava flows and explosions in the dark. You descend after it gets dark.
Once you approach the crater, you will hear the explosions before you can even see them – the sound is similar to that of fireworks. Once at the top, you will be able to sit in the crater area to take photos and to just be in awe of this incredible show of nature. The views of the rest of the Aelian Archipelago in the distance is simply breathtaking.
The hike can be strenuous as you’ll be walking on sandy terrain and going on a steady uphill until you reach the crater. On the way back, the terrain will be even sandier and somewhat slippery, and you will be walking in the dark so you need to have a headlamp.
Appropriate gear is highly recommended: make sure to wear a good pair of hiking shoes, and to carry a change of t-shirt as well as a good sweatshirt and wind jacket as it can be quite cold at the crater. Bring enough food and water for the duration of the hike.
#17 Hiking to Rinjani volcano in Indonesia
by Katalin from Our Life Our Travel
During our two-week-long trip to Indonesia, one of the most memorable volcano experiences was hiking to Mt Rinjani on Lombok Island.
Karol and I went on an overnight hiking trip to the rim of the volcano and back. It was an organized tour by one of the local companies. We chose the tour on the spot as we weren’t sure of our timetable beforehand. The hike to the over 3000-meter high volcano was rather demanding due to the high humidity levels. Luckily, we hike often, so it wasn’t really exhausting for us. Only the constant high humidity levels were a bit disturbing, while we walked upward through the rainforest. On a positive note, we saw millions of monkeys, birds, and insects during the trek.
As it was an organized trip, we didn’t have to carry our own tent or sleeping bags, as they were provided and set up for the night near the rim. Most of the meals were prepared on the spots well, so we only carried clothing, personal items, and water.
Unfortunately, it was overcast by the late afternoon when we reached the top, and a cloud was also sitting in the crater, so we only got a glimpse of the lake in it before the sunset. The next morning we descended on the same route.
#18 Vestmannaeyjar in Iceland, a must-visit volcanic island
Vestmannaeyjar in Iceland – also known as the Westmann Islands – are the perfect getaway from the Ring Road on your Iceland itinerary. This off the beaten track archipelago is perfect for bird watchers, hike lovers and adventurous volcano climbers.
When you visit the Westmann Islands, you actually only visit one: Heimaey, the largest and the only one inhabited. Heimaey has one small town and is all about dramatic cliffs, volcanoes and puffins. Two days should be enough to cover all of Heimaey, but a day trip would also give you enough time to see at least the major highlights.
The Vestmannaeyjar islands were once created by volcanic activity and today Heimaey is still dominated by volcanoes. The Eldfell and Helgafell are both close to the small town on the island. The Eldfell is the largest and erupted in 1973. The entire island had to be evacuated and the eruption lasted for months. Part of the town was covered with lava. You can now visit the black lava fields. It’s a bizarre idea that there are remnants of the city underneath, like an Icelandic Pompeii.
The climb to the top of the Eldfell is a highlight of your visit. From the top you’ll have a beautiful view over Heimaey and the other Westmann Islands. You can walk from the village to the base of the volcano – or take your rental car and park it at the base – and hike up in about an hour through the black lava rocks.
#19 Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh
by Ronan from Everything Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s skyline is instantly recognisable by the imposing and grand extinct volcano – Arthur’s Seat. This hiking spot is popular with locals and visitors, sightseers and dog walkers.
The climb to the top is one of the best walks in Edinburgh. There are a number of different routes to the top of Arthur’s Seat. The least challenging is from Dunsapie Loch in the East. The more challenging climbs are from St Margaret’s Loch or Holyrood Palace in the North and West.
All routes are clearly signposted and offer stunning views of the city. It’s hard to know what the best part of this walk is: the striking basalt terrain or the panoramic views of Edinburgh, the Forth and Fife. In truth, it’s a bit of both!
You should allow for around three hours to climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat. The climb can be challenging in places, but is popular with families so is not overtly difficult.
Make a day of your trip by visiting one of the fantastic eateries in the area. Or why not visit Dynamic Earth – a museum devoted to the story of Earth. It’s perfect for families with lots of hands on exhibitions. Dynamic Earth is located at the foot of Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park.
Make sure to snap some pictures of Edinburgh Castle which can clearly be seen looking West. It is built atop a volcanic plug which was chosen for its strategic position to spot enemies approaching.
Climbing to the top in time for sunrise or sunset is certainly worth the walk and is on the bucket list for many a student and local. Make sure to add Arthur’s Seat to your Edinburgh bucket list!
#20 Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote
by Darek from Darek And Gosia
Lanzarote and volcanoes are almost like synonyms. Although the entire Canary Islands archipelago was created thanks to underwater eruptions, the impact of volcanoes on the landscape is not so visible on any other island. The effects of their presence can be seen almost everywhere, from the green Lake Charco de los Clicos to the underground Jameos de Aqua. However, Timanfaya National Park is primarily associated with volcanoes in Lanzarote.
Probably the most famous place on Lanzarote. It delights, amazes, and sometimes scares. Even 300 years ago people lived here, and the area was famous for its fertile lands. Nothing foretold what was to come, until suddenly in 1730 the land opened near the village of Timanfaya.
Despite the passage of three centuries, the landscape of this place has changed little. Thanks to the efforts of Cesar Manrique, the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya was created under strict protection in the 1970s with an area of over 50 km2. Independent entrance to the park is strictly prohibited, but you can explore its interior with a guided tour on a relatively short ride on camels.
Today, magma is still boiling at a depth of 3-5 km, which causes that several meters below ground temperatures are reaching 600 degrees Celsius, and just below the surface even 100 – 200 degrees. Around the El Diablo restaurant there are several shows that illustrate how hot this place is.
#21 The active Santiaguito volcano in Guatemala
The Santiaguito volcano is the most dangerous of the three active volcanoes in Guatemala. All the hikes to the volcano have been canceled since a few years, but you can still watch this impressive natural phenomenon at a safe distance at the Santa Maria volcano.
The Santiaguito is in fact part of the Santa Maria volcano, located near Quetzaltenango. We were told that the craters of the Santiaguito were created by a huge eruption of the Santa Maria. Part of the Santa Maria volcano then collapsed, forming the craters we now call the Santiaguito. The Santa Maria is a lot higher than the Santiaguito and is a popular destination for a tough day hike or even overnight tour.
The first part of the hike to the viewpoint for the Santiaguito is equal to that for the Santa Maria. At a certain point you have to turn left for the Santa Maria summit, and you continue straight ahead for the Santiaguito.The hike to the viewpoint takes approximately 2 hours.
You’ll arrive at the viewpoint early in the morning, when the sky is still clear and you can see the Santiaguito erupting. We spent an hour and a half at the viewpoint with our guide nand group, drinking coffee and chatting. The views are amazing, and the Santiaguito doesn’t disappoint at all. The crater first starts to smoke slowly, until a huge, thick and white cloud of smoke appears. We get to witness three eruptions, each one unforgetable and impressive.
#22 Diamond Head on the island of Oahu in Hawaii
by Holly from Globe Blogging
While not an active volcano, Diamond Head was formed by an eruption approximately 300,000 years ago when ash and particles settled around the centre of the eruption, eventually hardening into rock. Today the crater occupies an area over 475 acres on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.
A popular tourist attraction that receives more than a million visitors every year, hiking Diamond Head is a rite of passage for any visitor to Oahu, not only for the spectacular panoramic views offered from the top, but for the glimpse into American military history. The strategic benefit offered by Diamond Head’s position made it a natural choice for military fortifications and these were added to in both World Wars. Today tourists are able to wander through the lookout and command posts and stroll through tunnels carved through the rock.
The climb up the 760 foot high peak will certainly get the heart rate up but is not overly difficult, and it offers plenty of places to stop and rest along the way. For the eager, it is recommended as being a spectacular location for both sunrise and sunset, just be sure to check the opening hours of the crater before you go. Tour companies often offer morning tours, but depart after sunrise.
The hike is 2.6 kilometres from the parking lot to the summit and back and while the official site suggests two hours as the hike time it could be done in less. The Diamond Head crater is approximately 40 minutes walk from Waikiki for those that feel like extending their walk, or the public bus route #23 stops outside the crater.
#23 Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador
by Sarah Carter by Lets Grow Cook
Ecuador has many volcanoes, but the second-highest mountain (and volcano) Cotopaxi is one of the easier ones to hike. Many take the trip from Quito as a 2 day and 1-night trip, which helps with some of the acclimatization, which is absolutely necessary to visit this volcano.
One of the best ways to visit Cotopaxi is to stay at the Secret Garden Hostel – which, set in the foothills of Cotopaxi, is often described as heaven on earth. There are dorms, hobbit huts and glorious private cabanas here with fireplaces and private bathrooms.
The summit of Cotopaxi is at 5897 metres, but hiking usually starts at the car park, which sits at 4,500 metres. However far you decide to hike, most people will at least get to the refuge, located at 4,800 metres. There’s accommodation here, toilets and food and drink and it’s warm inside too! If you’re summiting, then you’ll stay here on your first night.
You can, of course, simply choose to hike to the refuge, or head, like we did, to the snowline and 5,000 metres. The air is thinner here, and you’ll need to take on extra water, but the views are glorious and it is an incredible place to visit.
#24 Khorgo Volcano in Mongolia
by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
Before visiting Mongolia, I had no idea that there were volcanoes there. I knew about the sands of the Gobi desert and the grassy plains used for grazing animals, but I certainly didn’t know that you could climb a volcano in Mongolia. The place to do this is the Khorgo-Terkh National Park, which is located about 630 kilometers west of the capital Ulaanbaatar in Arkhangai province. Like most places of interest in Mongolia, there is no public transport to get here, so you’ll need to arrange a tour with a local operator.
The park is named after Khorgo Mountain, which is the main volcano in the area, although there are actually about a dozen in total. All of them are extinct now, and what’s really striking about the landscape is how the forest has grown up around the dark black lava stone and dormant craters. You’ll even see pine trees growing out of the dark red soil inside the Khorgo crater.
Hiking up to the crater rim only takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding volcanic scenery. Further in the distance, you can see Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur, a beautiful lake that is also part of the national park. I recommend staying overnight at one of the ger camps on the shores of the lake. “Ger” is the Mongolian word for the yurts that nomadic herders live in, and these days you can find ger camps for tourists scattered throughout Mongolia. While they’re more comfortable than a typical herder’s ger, don’t expect many luxuries. A one night stay here is enough for most people, but if you want to explore the area further it would also make a great base for a longer stay.
#25 Tongariro National Park in New Zealand
by Alex of Discover Aotearoa – New Zealand from N to Z
New Zealand’s North is a paradise for volcano lovers. There are multiple active ones and even more dormant and extinguished volcanoes scattered all over the North Island. The three most famous volcanoes lie smack-bang in the heart of New Zealand, in Tongariro National Park. It’s Mounts Ruapehu, Ngaurauhoe and Tongariro.
Mt Ngaurauhoe starred as Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings but that’s not the only reason people flock to this area. Between Spring and Autumn, it’s the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing that attracts thousands to Tongariro National Park. The 20 km tramp is the most popular guided day-hike in New Zealand and one of the most famous worldwide. You’ll walk between Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngaurauhoe through a surreal landscape that occasionally makes you feel like walking around the moon. It’s utterly beautiful in a stinted kind of way and fascinating to see the geothermal Emerald Lakes and Blue Lake.
During Winter, it’s the neighbour volcano, Ruapehu, that draws most of the attention. The big mountain massive hosts the biggest ski fields in all of New Zealand! Yes, you can ski on a volcano! The two commercial ski fields are Whakapapa ski field on the north-western side of the mountain and Tūroa on the south-western side.
For skiers, both ski fields offer a lot of fun and diversity, while Whakapapa is better for beginner skier and sightseeing. Sky Waka (waka is māori and means canoe) is the gondola that brings even non-skiers up to 2020m.
Even if you’re not planning on climbing or skiing any of the three volcanoes, there is plenty of volcanic evidence and activity in Tongariro National Park. Visit the Silica Rapids for example or one of the other walks in the area to satisfy your volcanic curiosity.
#26 Mount Benbow and Marum at Vanuatu
by Josh from The Lost Passport
There are two types of volcano experiences you can have in Vanuatu. Drive to the top and leisurely peer in or climb uphill through the dense jungle for two relentless days followed by a descent into the crater tethered by a rope and metal picket. This is about the latter, for the adventurers.
Vanuatu’s outer island of Ambrym is home to two volcanoes, Mount Marum and Mount Benbow. Impressively and uniquely, both volcanoes had lava lakes, a rare occurrence. To reach the volcanoes you will make an intensive 3-4 hour hike through the jungle to a very basic base camp. From base camp there are another two grueling hikes to each volcano. Rainwater on the mountain is acidic and not potable. Unless you want to cough your lungs out, be sure to carry enough drinking water for the entire trip.
While some opt to visit one or the other, it is really worth seeing both. To visit the two volcanoes, it is best to allow three days in total. One day ascending to base camp, one day to visit both volcanoes, and one day to descend. That said, the whole experience can be done in two days if you have the legs for it.
#27 Volcan Masaya in Nicaragua
by Michele from Adventures Abound
While Nicaragua is known as the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes, the Masaya Volcano National Park is a particularly unforgettable experience that you must visit, with two volcanos located within an ancient supervolcano and a total of five craters. The park is incredibly affordable to visit with entrance costing only 100 córdobas – the equivalent of a few dollars/euros, and well worth the cost.
As soon as you reach the entrance gates and drive through the park to the visitor’s center you will note the difference in flora with other-worldly dry forest adapted to the volcanic conditions. Next to the visitor’s center is the active crater where you can see smoke and gas emitted from down below, and carefully peer over to see active lava within the crater.
When there is not recent volcanic activity you can also hike along the rim between this active crater and a dormant crater which is now covered in lush plant life, reaching a viewpoint overlooking the lake, a small town in the distance, and the rim of the ancient supervolcano surrounding the landscape. At night, the park also offers a night-tour which allows you to see the active crater’s lava activity when the sun goes down.
The easiest way to reach the park is staying in the closest town of Masaya and taking a taxi or driving to the park entrance, but it is only an half-hour drive from the popular capitol Managua as well. Either way, once you visit you are sure to see why Nicaragua is such an underrated destination!