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What is Volcano Tourism and why is it so popular?

12 Apr 2017

As ridiculous as may sound, volcano tourism exists and is very popular.

It’s not hard to see why people might want to explore right up to the very edges of these temperamental beasts; volcanoes are a fascination, often dormant, but never truly silent and therein lays the risk and the reward.  Over 2 million people each year decide to venture to the precipice of volcanoes around the world and it’s no surprise that some fail to come home.

The Cambridge English Dictionary describes a volcano as “a mountain with a large, circular hole at the top through which lava (= hot liquid rock) gases, steam, and dust are or have been forced out.” The incredible awe one feels when watching these magma spewing mountains on the television can only be exaggerated with an up close and personal encounter – we assume. 


Volcanoes can be found all over the world, and for their infamous reputations, many of them are a real draw to tourists. Mount Saint Helens is held responsible for the deaths of 57 people, when in in 1980 it blew its top, while thousands of people are said to have perished when Mount Vesuvius erupted and tore through the Italian city of Pompeii in 79 AD, with one hundred thousand times the thermal energy of the WWII nuclear bombs. 

This is a warning! As far as science has progressed, even trained volcanologists sometimes find themselves caught out by a lethargic lava creature. 

However, if you decide that volcano tourism is for you, there is an array of licenced and professional tour operators to be found and you don’t even have far to go; Mount Etna in Sicily, Mount Stromboli in Sicily, Mount Vesuvius, Naples, and Mount Teide in Tenerife are all within acceptable flying distances from the UK. 

If you happen to have the funds and are looking for that little extra risk, a tour operator based in Iceland does provide fly-by visits of erupting volcanoes. Obviously, this service is only available during active grumblings from the inner depths and if the mountain in question chooses to quieten-down, the tour operator cannot be held responsible.


Year round helicopter tours of glaciers and volcanoes are available for 135,900 ISK per adult – that’s approximately 1,035 GBP. Pricey, but this includes multiple landings on glaciers and long dormant volcanoes and is suitable for “…everybody, including people who although young in mind and heart have found themselves limited as to physical activity due to health reasons or old age. This tour is a great chance for everyone who is interested to enjoy these wonders of nature personally. Wheelchair users are also very welcome.”

And of course, we can supply you with your Icelandic Krona.

Note: always ensure that your tour agent is government authorised and trusted. 
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