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It feels like sneaking up on a sleeping dragon. But the beast beneath your boots is no fairy tale: volcanoes are firmly rooted in the real world.
Ever since Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland threw its toys out the pram in 2010 (much to the chagrin of news presenters struggling to pronounce it), the interest in volcano holidays has sky-rocketed.
Volatile, bizarrely beautiful and ultimately thrilling, volcanoes are nothing if not exciting. These are the geological artists of the world, with a temperament to match, and each one has its own personality.
Volcanoes of the World
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Take me there: Kilimanjaro trips
Mount Etna, Sicily
But it is the next-door neighbour Stromboli, a short hydrofoil hop away, which erupts regularly. Mother Nature does not deign to give an exact timetable, but when dusk falls the wait begins for the sporadic bursts of molten lava and igneous rocks.
Take me there: Sicily trips
Mount Arenal, Costa Rica
The soundtrack is constant: chattering cicadas, chirruping toucans and barking Howler monkeys accompany any hike through Arenal National Park, spotting Whiptail lizards and for the very lucky, the Jaguarundi wild cat – well, the area is called La Fortuna.
Take me there: Arenal Volcano trips
Mount Fuji, Japan
The nearby Japanese Alps are punctured with onsens, naturally occurring hot springs that spew pale steam into the air.
Spring and autumn both see the slopes explode with colour, whether it’s the delicate blush of cherry blossom season or the fiery hues of the falling leaves.
After the petroleum swirls of cooled lava, rusted red dirt, emerald green hills and ebony sand beaches, the bright cyan blue waters of the Blue Lagoon look as invigorating as they feel, packed with minerals that smooth and soften the skin of anyone who luxuriates here.
Take me there: Iceland trips
Take me there: Galapagos Islands
For thousands of years erosion from the pummelling water has done the rest, chiselling the rocks into a natural work of art best viewed from the saddle or a scenic boat ride.
Take me there: Chilean Lake District
Browse more of our volcano holidays below.