6 Volcanoes You Need to Visit

Not many thing in this life are as humbling as standing next to a live volcano. Seeing Mother Nature in all her glory will help put your own life into perspective. Mammoth mountains, red-hot oozing lava, and magnificent vistas—suddenly, you realize that the earth is not your domain but that you're just a small part of it. We’ve assembled a list of six volcanoes that are well worth visiting: Kilauea, Big Island, Hawaii
Kilauea is the world’s most active volcano—in fact, it has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983, making it one of the most long-lived eruptions on earth (that we know about, at least). The volcano is usually docile, making it a great option for visitors hoping to see an active volcano in a relatively safe environment. Home to some incredible ecosystems, Kilauea is part of the Hawai’I Volcanoes National Park. Visitors can view the volcano on a guided tour, either on the ground or up in a helicopter. Alternatively, they can do some exploring via a well-maintained network of hiking trails. Many Native Hawaiians refer to the volcano as Pele; another name for the fire goddess who is well known throughout Polynesia. OluKai sent some photographers to document Pele and her molten beauty. Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Located within the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, Mount Bromo is an active volcano that is beloved by both locals and visitors. By foot or by Jeep, volcano seekers can head over from the nearby village of Cemoro Lawang to check out this culturally significant site up close and personal. Mount Bromo is home to the Yadnya Kasada, a ceremony observed by the indigenous Teggerese people of Probolinggo. The annual festival honors Sang Hyang Widhi, God Almighty: as the legend goes, Princess Roro Anteng was gifted with 24 children, under the condition that she sacrifice her 25th child to the volcano. These days, participants sacrifice a variety of items (ranging from livestock to fruit to money—but no children) into the crater, which is thought to bring good luck. Mayon Volcano, Philippines
The aesthetically pleasing Mayon Volcano is an active volcano in the Philippines’ Albay Province. Its near-perfect symmetrical cone shape dominates the landscape, making it a favorite subject for photographers-- especially during the epic sunrises. Check out quad bike or ATV tours of the volcano, or opt to hike up the steep lava walls. Mount Shishaldin, Alaska
Mount Shishaldin looks a little different from most volcanoes: this glacier-clad mountain is a perfectly white cone rising into the Alaskan sky. Shishaldin is a moderately active volcano, with ongoing seismic activity: expect to see puffs of steam every few minutes. Mount Shishaldin is beautiful to observe from a distance, but climbing it is not for the faint of heart. Its remote location combined with its steep slopes (up to 40 degrees in some places) make it a grueling hike. Some locals brave the climb in order to earn some incredible skiing turns on the way down. Mount Sakurajima, Japan
Hop on a ferry from Kagoshima Port and head to the Sakurajima Ferry Terminal to witness Japan’s perpetually smoking Sakurajima in person. Though you can’t get too close to the craters themselves, there are plenty of observation areas to watch this active volcano bubble steam and ash. Mount Etna, Italy
Situated in the east coast of Italy, Mount Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe. An official UNESCO World Heritage Site and a United Nation’s designated Decade Volcano, Mount Etna is a well-known volcano—partly due to the many towns and villages that are in close proximity. During past eruptions, officials have used tactics like building concrete dams and ditches to keep lava flows away from population centers. Mount Etna happens to be the perfect spot to indulge in some classically European activities, like a post-volcano hike wine tasting at a nearby vineyard, or some fine skiing in the cooler months.