Volcanoes are a popular tourist attraction, and you can even get quite close to many of them. A tour of five volcanoes in cool, warm and hot climates – extinct, dormant and active ones included!
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Thríhnúkagígur, literally “three peaks crater,” is a dormant volcano about 45 minutes’ drive from Reykjavík. From May to October, adults and children aged 12 and up can descend into a magma chamber 120 meters below ground
to admire its red and purple, golden and amber walls in chilly, damp temperatures of only 6° C. Just as well that Thríhnúkagígur was last active 4000 years ago.
Volcanoes: Vesuvius, Vulcano and Etna
Difficulty: for good hikers
The smell of the sulfurous fumes rising from Vulcano, where Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, was said to have his forge, is over-whelming. But you can climb Vulcano, as you can the 1281-meter crater of Mount Vesuvius. Walking tours led by trained mountain guides will take you there and also up Mount Etna, which is over 3000 meters high.
Volcanoes: approx. 160
Follow in the tracks of 007 and weave down the slopes toward your next drink: On Kamchatka Peninsula, about eight hours by plane from Moscow, you can ski on a huge volcanic field 3000 meters above sea level. Ice, snow and stunning views are guaranteed. Advisable only for skiers able to handle a very steep, 2000-meter descent.
Volcanoes: San Juan and Teneguía
Difficulty: only for divers
In 1949, San Juan erupted, sending fiery-red lava flowing into the sea off La Palma. Teneguía followed suit in 1971. The lava hardened in the roughly 20° C water, forming arches, steep walls of basalt and other bizarre formations. You can explore the grottoes on a guided dive – with the occasional emerald wrasse as your companion.
SULFUR AND SALT
Volcanoes: Dallol and Erta Alé
Lurid green and sulfur-yellow acid ponds bubble in the Dallol hydrothermal field. Guided tours of what’s been called the hottest place on earth ensure that everyone does actually come back from this “place of no return.” From the 613-meter-tall ridge of the Erta Alé crater nearby, you look down into a lava lake where orange gas bubbles burst.