Table of Contents
- 1. Mount Vesuvius – Italy
- 2. Mount Agung – Bali, Indonesia
- 3. Ojos del Salado – Chile
- 4. Mauna Loa – Hawaii
- 5. Kīlauea – Hawaii
- 6. Mount Nyiragongo – Congo
- 7. Mount Etna – Sicily, Italy
Active volcanoes have been the cause of countless natural disasters in the history of humankind. They erased whole towns from the face of the earth, created places where history is frozen in time and ash, took thousands of lives, and sparked fear in the hearts of locals.
However, they remain a sought-after destination for those looking for adrenaline and novelty. If you’ve ever wondered how many volcanoes are in the world, the answer is millions, but only around 1500 active ones.
Today we’ll look at some of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, discover their history and show you if it’s safe to visit them.
1. Mount Vesuvius – Italy
After destroying the legendary city of Pompeii and killing 16.000 people in the process, this became the most famous volcano in the world. Even though the last time it erupted was in 1944, it’s still an active volcano, and scientists closely monitor it. The Italian Government has a plan in place, as they claim Vesuvius will erupt again sooner or later, and they fear it will be catastrophic.
As for tourism, Mount Vesuvius is open to the public every day from 9 am to 4 pm, and it should be one of the top things to do if you visit Pompeii or Herculaneum. Visitors can look into its crater and even smell the smoke coming from it. You don’t necessarily need a guide, because there are stairs and a well-defined path to help you reach the top, and there are always plenty of other tourists hiking by themselves.
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2. Mount Agung – Bali, Indonesia
Located in one of the most exotic locations in Indonesia, Bali, Mount Agung’s last major eruption happened in 1963 and killed over 1000 people. The eruption lasted for 11 months, which severely affected the region. Between 2017 and 2019 the volcano erupted again, causing the locals to evacuate immediately.
If you’re thinking about hiking to the top, which is the highest point of Bali, you’re in luck. The volcano is officially closed to the public, but there are many people who hike up to the top, with or without a guide. It’s highly recommended booking a guide through a reputable agency, so you don’t end up with unpleasant surprises.
3. Ojos del Salado – Chile
Located in Chile, in a complex of active volcanoes, this is the tallest volcano in the world (23,000 ft), and it’s active. Even though the surrounding region is barren and doesn’t pose a threat to the local population, visiting it is done in extreme weather conditions, extreme terrain, and with great physical difficulty. If you want to attempt to visit it, this is best done between December and March, because the Southern Hemisphere has inverse seasons.
4. Mauna Loa – Hawaii
This is considered to be the biggest volcano in the world, with a volume of 18,000 cubic miles. It’s located in Hawaii and has been erupting for the past 700.000 years. Even though it rarely erupts now, whenever it happens it produces rivers of lava that threaten the neighboring communities.
Because this is the largest volcano, it’s fairly difficult to visit. Hiking in the region can only be done with a permit, and only a limited number of hikers are accepted every day. The weather conditions are hazardous and hiking here can pose a risk to your health, so keep that in mind.
5. Kīlauea – Hawaii
Close to the volcano mentioned above is Kīlauea, which happens to be the most active volcano in the world. Even though at this moment it’s dormant, in 2018 it caused the shut down of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The volcano can be visited with or without a guide, but you should always ask the rangers about safety in the area because things can change from one day to another. A part of the area where the volcano erupted in 2018 is off-limits because of poisonous gases.
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6. Mount Nyiragongo – Congo
This extremely active volcano can be found in Congo, in the Virunga National Park. It has one of the biggest lava lakes in the world, which spilled out in 1977 causing deaths and severe damage in the area. And lava is not the only reason why this volcano is so dangerous, but also because it’s constantly releasing poisonous gases. Tourists can go on one of the most rewarding hikes of their lives to see the bubbling lava when reaching the top.
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7. Mount Etna – Sicily, Italy
This volcano overseeing the city of Catania in Italy is one of the most active volcanos in the world. It’s especially dangerous because of its proximity to the second biggest city in Sicily, where over 300.000 people live.
Even though Etna is very active and has killed over 20.000 people, it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sicily. Photos taken with the drone show hundreds of tourists around the crater at a time. In 2017 a volcanic explosion took the tourists by surprise and over 10 of them were seriously injured.
If you decide to visit any of these volcanoes or others from the long list of active volcanoes, proceed with extreme caution and always keep in mind that nature is unpredictable.