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DOWNTOWN_1699-JPG downloadIceland  

Iceland is one of the most volcanically active areas on the planet, with 130 volcanoes. Last week the fifth eruption since December at the Sundhnjukar mountain ridge sent lava 150 feet into the air, but locals and tourists stayed safe while flights continued to operate. Volcanic activity is a fact of life in Iceland, where people have learned to live with the drawbacks and the advantages. After all, that constant geological activity is the reason the island has so much natural beauty to see from geothermal pools to incredible mountains. 

The unexpected way to observe Iceland’s volcanoes: by sea. 

The land of fire and ice and the midnight sun is an island, so the best way to experience it is to sail around it. Small ship line Windstar Cruises circumnavigates Iceland on a 7-day Around Iceland cruise with just 312 guests on board, visiting five towns on the island in addition to the capital of Reykjavik. These small towns are easy to explore and have opportunities for scenic outdoor adventures (like treks to waterfalls). And the bonus of being on a ship if/when a volcano erupts nearby? You sail somewhere else. 

Mount Etna in Sicily 

Mount Etna is one of Europe’s most active volcanoes, recently making headlines for puffing volcanic vortex rings into the sky. You can hike up the slopes of this volcano, or observe it easily from a distance, Aperol spritz in hand.  

The unexpected way to view Mount Etna: on a bike. 

VBT offers Sicilian guided biking tours, with additional highlights like biking past volcanic coastlines, staying in an 18th century palace, and joining Sicilian truffle hunters on a search for the culinary prize. 

Kīlauea and Mauna Loa in Hawaii 

Kīlauea and Mauna Loa are two of the world’s most active volcanoes and are located in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawaii (aka the Big Island). There are 150 miles of trails within the park through craters and lava tubes, making up-close volcanic exploration possible. 

The unexpected way to engage with Hawaii’s volcanoes: on a multi-island itinerary. 

Holiday Vacations offers a Hawaii Four Island Holiday that spends time in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park but also includes inter-island flights and accommodations on Kauai, Maui, and Oahu, with their own volcanoes to explore as well. 

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming 

Yellowstone is a volcano, and the magma chamber under the park influences its natural features including all those famous geysers and hot springs. In fact, the park has the world’s largest collection of hydrothermal features with more than 500 geysers – that’s half of the world’s total.

The unexpected way to experience it: by snowcoach. 

Winter is the park’s quietest season, but it’s one of the best times to visit. The park’s interior is accessible only by commercial over-snow transportation, and Yellowstone’s snowcoaches are essentially the ultimate 21st-century (heated) sleigh. Some of the best geyser viewing and photography opportunities arise in the dead of winter, when the snow-white landscape provides the contrast that makes thermal wonders appear even more dramatic. Stay at one of the resort’s wintertime lodges to fully experience the winter magic.