Arenal Volcano in central Costa Rica is famous for its picture-perfect views and until 2010 was considered to be the country's most active volcano. Nowadays, you can visit Arenal Volcano National Park for hiking, Lake Arenal for fishing, boating, and windsurfing, and relax in the natural hot springs located nearby.
Luckily for visitors, things have calmed down a lot since the massive eruption in 1968 that destroyed three villages and killed 87 people. Today, Arenal remains a popular spot along Costa Rica's tourist trail and plays host to outdoor activities like hiking, canyoneering, and whitewater rafting as well as horseback riding.
One of Hawaii's most iconic postcard images is Diamond Head, a dormant volcano offering gorgeous views overlooking Waikiki and the southeastern part of Oahu. Allow up to two hours for the round-trip hike, bring plenty of water, and don't forget to wear sunscreen as the afternoon Hawaiian sun can be quite strong.
Diamond Head State Monument is open everyday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the last entrance to the hiking trail at 4:30 p.m., and costs $5 per car or $1 per pedestrian. The semi-strenuous hike takes you up 560 feet from the crater floor in the first 0.8 miles on a paved walkway, through 0.2 miles of switchbacks, a 225-foot tunnel, and up 99 steps to the summit.
Often a major bucket list item for hiking enthusiasts, Mt. Kilimanjaro is Africa's tallest mountain at 5,896 meters. Visit Mt. Kilimanjaro for killer views of the volcano and to catch a glimpse of wild animals like water buffalo, monkeys, leopards, elephants, and giraffes.
Tour companies like G Adventures and Intrepid Travel offer affordable weeklong Kilimanjaro trekking tour options under $2,400 per person including accommodations, most meals, and the services of experienced hiking guides.
Mount Pelée is a popular attraction on the Caribbean island of Martinique and is easily accessible for novice as well as advanced hikers. Scale the sides of this still-active volcano with the help of a guide (for safety reasons, especially if the volcano erupts), or opt to drive to a parking lot located a mile from the summit for a scenic walk to the top.
Visit the Volcanological Museum in Saint-Pierre, Martinique, to learn about Mount Pelée's tragic 1902 eruption that destroyed the entire city and killed every inhabitant except for one man who was lucky enough to be locked up that night and was saved by the walls of his jail cell.
One of the most notorious volcanoes in Italy, if not the world, Mt. Vesuvius is best known for its dramatic eruption in A.D. 79 that obliterated ancient cities and froze the nearby town of Pompeii in time, burying it under mountains of hot ash and preserving its citizens and their homes for centuries. Here, a view of Mt. Vesuvius as seen from the ruins of Pompeii.
Several tours are available from Naples, Italy, to visit Mt. Vesuvius, where you hike to the volcano's summit and look down into the still-smoking crater. This full-day trip by Viator includes time to explore Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii, entrance fees and guided tours of both sites, pizza lunch, and transportation from your hotel or the Naples train station, from $131 per person.
Buried deep beneath Yellowstone National Park lies one of the world's largest supervolcanoes—its next eruption is predicted to be catastropic for the U.S. although its not known when it will occur. Until then, you can visit natural attractions within the park, like Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the U.S., and just enjoy the view.
Visit Yellowstone if you're looking for a great family camping or road trip, and are up for hiking, fishing, biking, or horseback riding during the summer, or cold-weather activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing during the winter.
Chile's Villarrica Volcano and the nearby Pucon area are a haven for outdoor adventure sports, home to El Condor, a 3,500-meter long canopying circuit, the largest in South America. You can even climb to the top of the Villarrica crater and watch the lava flowing inside.
Not into heavy duty hiking and climbing? Check out one of the area's hot springs or spas at Villarrica or nearby Curarrehue, Malalcahuello, or Curacautín. Adventureous travelers can try their hand at skiing and snowboarding ont the slopes of Villarrica or other neighboring volcanoes like Llaima and Lonquimay.
Courtesy of Lucia Araya
About an hour's drive outside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park along Highway 130 in Puna is the entrance to Kalapana, a Big Island town that was completely covered by a 1990 lava flow. The hike ends at a gorgeous black sand beach (swimming is not permitted due to the proximity to the active volcano, Mt. Kilauea). The best part: both parking and hiking are free.
Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for a chance to walk inside the Thurston Lava Tube, no longer an active part of the volcano, that allows you to walk 1/3 mile inside Kilauea where lava once flowed a few hundred years ago. Expect to pay $10 per vehicle that enters the park, or $5 per individual if you enter by foot, bicycle, or motorcycle.
One of the most beautiful sights on earth is watching the sunrise from the summit of Mt. Haleakala on the Hawaiian island of Maui. If you're not a morning person, the view from the top is beautiful all day, and at 10,023 feet above sea level, you'll feel like you're on top of the world. The best part? You can drive right up this dormant volcano, no hiking required.
Maui Easy Riders provides transportation from the town of Paia on Maui's North Shore to Mt. Haleakala's summit and guides you downhill on an unforgettable bike ride along the long, winding, paved path back down the world's largest dormant volcano. From $99 per person when booked online.
Mount Fuji towers over the country at 3,776 meters and is technically still active, although it hasn't erupted since 1708. For a picture-perfect view of this impressive Japanese volcano, take a ride on the shinkansen train from Tokyo to Osaka, Kyoto, or Nagoya and watch for hte the Shin-Fuji station on the right side about 45 minutes after you depart.
Don't miss the Hakone hot springs or the chance to hike Mount Fuji during July and August, when some of its trails are open to the public. Viator offers several Mt. Fuji-themed day-trips, including one that gives you a full-day guided tour of Mt. Fuji, Mt. Komagatake, Hakone National Park, and a sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi, from $95 per person.
Visit Mt. Rainier National Park to view an active Pacific Northwest volcano essentially covered by 25 glaciers. HIkers will love exploring the Wonderland Trail, a 93-mile path that circles the mountain and takes you through the various volcanic eco-systems. Check out the Tahoma Creek suspension bridge and don't forget to bring your camera!
The best time to visit Mt. Rainier is in July and August when rain chances are lower and weather is mild and sunny. Always bring raingear though, as weather and trail conditions can sometimes be unpredictable.
A visit to Bárðarbunga Volcano in Iceland is a truly unforgettable experience.
Extreme Iceland offers sightseeing flights of Bárðarbunga volcano during year-round during eruptions so you can catch a glimpse of a fresh lava flow from the air, worth a splurge at from $364 USD per person (45,000 ISK) for a once-in-a-lifetime experience you'll never forget.
Santorini may look quiet and peaceful today with all its colorful buildings, but thousands of years ago, a catastrophic eruption took place, effectively burying an entire Minoan civilization under volcanic ash for nearly 4,000 years—unlike their ill-fated counterparts in Pompeii, however, the people here escaped, leaving behind a ton of artifacts at sites like Akrotiri.
The eruption of Thera, the Greek volcano that helped shape Santorini and several other Greek islands, is said to have been five times as powerful as the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, Indonesia. Many believe the original Minoan ruins were once the mythical city of Atlantis, a legendary city believed to have been destroyed by intense natural causes.
From drive-up volcanoes in Hawaii to the ones that once toppled entire civilizations in Italy and Greece, you won't want to miss these visitor-friendly volcanoes and the chance to hike up—or inside—these magnificent forces of nature.