The World's Most Beautiful Volcanoes

Early morning view of the Bromo caldeira in East Java in Indonesia. The volcanic formation of a few volcanoes, with the famous volcano Bromo and the Semeru volcano in the background stock photo

Once you’ve caught the travel bug, it can be hard to stay in one place for an extended period of time. Sure, museums are great, and visiting bustling cities can satisfy the travel cravings, but have you thought about placing volcanoes on your bucket list? What’s more exciting than visiting nature’s version of a jack in a box? We’ve rounded up a list of volcanoes that you can visit and take in nature at its most unpredictable. If you hurry, you may be able to catch a glimpse of Mauna Loa erupting for the first time in almost 40 years.

Related: The 50 Most Beautiful Views in the World

Breathtaking view of Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. The largest subaerial volcano in both mass and volume, Mauna Loa has been considered the largest volcano on Earth.

Elevation: 13,681 feet

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawaii is Mauna Loa, or the “long mountain.” This beautiful and active volcano has been in eruption since millions of years ago, and just began spewing lava flows on Nov. 27 for the first time since 1984. Some areas are closed to visitors during the eruption, but there's typically many beautiful sights for visitors to witness despite the steep incline. The National Park Service cautions would-be travelers that the hike up the volcano can be challenging, with loose rocks and a steep incline. Backpackers are welcome, but are limited to three consecutive nights per site.   

Related: The Best of Hawaii on a Budget

Mount St. Helens, Washington

Elevation: 8,363 feet
Mount St. Helens surprised locals and the world alike when it erupted on May 18, 1980, as many thought the volcano was extinct. A plume of ash and smoke blasted 80,000 feet into the sky, destroying 230 square miles of vegetation and wildlife within 5 to 9 minutes. The best views are from the plaza behind the Johnston Ridge Observatory, named after volcanologist David A. Johnston who died as a result of the eruption. The observation center, which is part of Gifford Pinchot National Park, is closed for the foreseeable future, but the plaza remains open for visitors. The National Park warns visitors that the closest gas stations to the park are in Castle Rock or Toutle, some 52 and 40 miles from the park, respectively.

Mount Fuji


Elevation: 12,388 feet

Located in Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, you can also visit the base of the mountain year-round by foot (which is great for those who don't like heights). For those who want a view of the mountain, visitors can take day trips to towns around the foot of Mount Fuji. The park also offers boating, an aerial tramway, and hot springs.

Related: 20 Prime Places to See Beautiful Cherry Blossoms

Mount Rainier National Park
Camila Picolli/istockphoto

Elevation: 14,409 feet

As the tallest mountain in Washington and the Cascade Range, Mount Rainier ranks as the highest peak in the state. Aside from this, it is the most glaciated peak within the contiguous United States. Mount Rainier can be viewed by taking a helicopter tour or driving to Ashford, Washington, to Mount Rainier National Park. If you're looking for a day trip from Seattle, Mount Rainier might be the one.

Related: World's Most Beautiful Glaciers to See Before They're Gone

View of the village of San Teodoro and Etna volcano on background. Sicily, Italy.

Elevation: 10,922 feet (changes often due to activity)

Mount Etna is an active volcano in the Milo region of Sicily. Etna is also the highest mountain in Italy and among the most active volcanoes in the world. Stop by Parco dell’Etna on the eastern slope of the mountain to catch lectures and exhibits at the visitor’s center.

Taken in Chile, South America

9,340 feet

Snow-covered Villarrica, one of Chile's most active volcanoes (and popular tourist destination), rises above the lake and town of the same name. It erupts basaltic lava and is one of the few permanently active volcanoes in the world, sometimes with a small lava lake present in its summit crater.

Related: 15 Bucket-List Destinations Below the Equator

Landscape Panorama picture from Volcano Arenal next to the rainforest, Costa Rica

Costa Rica
5,436 feet
The Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Central America. You can visit and hike through the national park, which is an hour's drive from San Jose, or you can enjoy an adventure like the 2-hour 4x4 tour through the mountain with a local guide. 

Related: 18 Things You Must Do While Traveling Central America

Scenic picture-postcard view of the city of Napoli (Naples) with famous Mount Vesuvius in the background in golden evening light at sunset, Campania, Italy.

4,202 feet

Perhaps one of the most famous volcanoes in the world, Vesuvius is definitely one of those bucket list trips. Stop by the famous city of Pompeii before or after your hike up the mountain, but make time to visit the nearby Herculaneum, a city that was destroyed by the same eruption as Pompeii.

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Volcano eruption in Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland

5,466 feet
Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced "e-ya-fjalyock-uh-jock-uhl") means Eyafjalla glacier mountain. In 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland caused massive flooding and destruction. The eruption's ash plume — which could be seen from miles away — disrupted air travel in Northwest Europe for nearly a week, stranding thousands of passengers. Now, it is safe to visit with tours specifically designed to show the effects of the eruption. There's a visitor's center (aptly named Lava Centre) near the town of Hvolsvöllur where you can find more information on the experience of one family whose farm was destroyed by the volcano.

Related: Here's How to Visit Iceland Without Spending a Fortune


2,667 feet

If you've ever wanted to visit the world's biggest (and most famous) active volcano, look no further. The Krakatoa eruption of 1883 devastated the area, causing more than 36,000 deaths. In modern times, tourists can hike the mountain, or, for the less adventurous, view the land mass from the safety of a tour boat.

View from the crater rim of Erta Ale - one of the most active vulancoes in the world - into the active, red glowing lava lake. Erta Ale is a continuously active basaltic shield volcano in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia, only some kilometers from

2,011 feet
For adventurous and competent climbers only, Erta Ale has been described as one of "the most inhospitable places on the continent." The site, about 62 miles from Mikelle, is best seen at sunset when the temperatures drop.

Related: 21 Epic Hiking Trails Around the World

Active volcano at Kyushu island

Elevation: 5,223 feet

Mount Aso is an active, living volcano. When Mount Aso is active, it's shut off to the public; but when it's less active, you can visit and be an adventurer. The volcano has formed an impressive crater: 15 miles wide and about 62 miles around. In its ancient past, the crater was so vast that local legend claims people actually lived in it.     

view of a smoking Stromboli volcano at sunset

3,038 feet

Stromboli has been erupting almost continuously since 1932, making it one of Earth's most active volcanoes. Mount Stromboli is an active volcano located in the Mediterranean Sea in southern Italy. Stromboli’s three crater lakes are among the deepest in the world. Because it has been active for much of the last 2,000 years and its eruptions are visible for long distances at night, it is known as the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean."     

Tungurahua, El Altar and pyroplastic flows from Sangay volcano

17,159 feet
Sangay, located about 25 miles northwest of Quito, is home to a lush park and vibrant scenery. The mountain was declared a national park in 1991, following UNESCO declaring the area a World Heritage Site in 1983. Visitors can camp, climb the mountain, hike, raft, or cycle through the park. 

Mount Batur at sunrise in the morning

Bali, Indonesia
5,633 feet
The peak of Mount Batur is undoubtedly one of Bali's most scenic attractions, and it's easy to understand why — a blend of green palm trees, white beaches, and a turquoise-blue sea, it's hard to beat. However, you should be prepared for the journey up the mountain: High temperatures mean that most tours start before dawn. Once you're there, you'll be rewarded with some of the island's most spectacular views.

Related: 24 Beautiful Destinations Threatened By Overtourism — and Where to Go Instead

Mt. Ngauruhoe also knows as Mt. Doom from the Lord of the Rings in the Tongariro National Park on the North island of New Zealand

New Zealand
6,489 feet
In addition to being the dramatic site of Mount Doom of the "Lord of the Rings" fame, Mount Ngauruhoe is a spectacular mountain in Tongariro National Park. This mountain has an awesome hike that can be done with a guide (to make sure you're not one of those Hobbits that the treacherous climb takes out). After your trek, stay for skiing, biking, climbing, or camping.    

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Cotopaxi Park in Ecuador

19,393 feet
The pride of the Andes, Parque Nacional Cotopaxi entices visitors from all over the globe. Some 37 miles away from Quito, the park offers the volcano, of course, as well as picturesque lagoons and waterways. 

orange lava in bottom of masaya volcano in nicaragua

2,083 feet
The Masaya volcano is located in Nicaragua’s largest national park. It's a car ride away from Managua and can be seen from Las Terrenas. Visitors can see the lava lake left over from past eruptions when they explore the volcano's crater. The region is popular with hikers, as trails abound.

Early morning view of the Bromo caldeira in East Java in Indonesia. The volcanic formation of a few volcanoes, with the famous volcano Bromo and the Semeru volcano in the background stock photo

7,641 feet
Indonesia is full of perfect places to see the sun rise, but one of the most stunning views is that of Mount Bromo. The mountain has a tremendous peak and red lava river in a region that’s well known for its Ring of Fire. In addition to the incredible views, the surrounding area is covered by thick clouds that make it an ideal place to view the sunrise. People also come from all over to experience the enormous hot springs that emerge just below the volcano and flow into the lake.

Picture of Volcanic cone of the Galeras Volcano in Pasto Colombia
Javier Narváez/istockphoto

24,029 feet
One of the most active volcanoes in the world, the Galeras Volcano in Colombia is surrounded by a park, which attracts visitors from all over. The top of the volcano itself is closed for safety reasons. A group of scientists and tourists were in the volcano's crater and were killed when it erupted in January 1993.   

Aerial view of the volcano Piton de la Fournaise at island La Reunion

Réunion, Indian Ocean
8,632 feet
The Piton de la Fournaise (“The Sacred Furnace") is the youngest of the three volcanoes that make up the volcanic archipelago of the French island of Reunion. The volcano erupts every nine months on average, proof that this is still very much an active site. Visitors to the area can stop by the waterfalls and then pop over to the sea turtle observatory before or after their volcanic adventure.

Stunning volcanic landscape of lake Taal from Tagaytay, a village located on the huge caldera, who forms the lake. The large volcanic caldera was formed by very large eruptions between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago.

1,020 feet
The Taal Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It's located on the island of Luzon, and has been active for over 200 years. The last major eruption was in 2020, but tours still operate to the volcano and adjacent lake, where visitors can walk along the hardened black lava to the rim of the crater. 


Democratic Republic of the Congo
11,384 feet
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Nyiragongo hosts the world’s largest lava lake and is one of Africa's most active volcanoes. It’s not only the volcano that attracts tourists to see it; the beautiful landscape and the rich culture also help to make it a must visit. Visitors also come to see Kivu, a crater lake located less than a mile away.   

Lake Martin, Alabama
Jacqueline Nix/istockphoto

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