Blasting billons of tons of ash and lava 10,000ft into the atmosphere, Iceland’s unpronounceable volcano – Eyjafjallajökull – has grounded all UK flights, a first in aviation history.
But once planes return to our skies, where are the best places for lava lovers to watch the spectacular site of a volcano erupting?
Flight site Skyscanner (www.Skyscanner.net) brings you the top five destinations for volcano voyeurs.
Known as the ‘Lighthouse of the Mediterranean’ due to its spectacular night time explosions, this Aeolian Island has been attracting global lava lovers for years. Stromboli is almost unique in that it has been active since records began. The eruptions are so regular that the word Stromboli is now used to mean ‘small explosion’ and its shape means you can get remarkably close to the action –just 200m above the active crater!
Montserrat, West Indies
In 1995 the Soufrière Hills volcano erupted, burying and burning the former capital of Plymouth to such an extent that they had to relocate the government permanently. Ash continues to fall to this day making much of the area off limits, but some parts of the exclusion zone are now open for guided tours allowing visitors to see the half-buried houses. The volcano itself is best viewed from Jack Boy Hill from where you can watch its angry red glow after dark.
Kilauea on the Hawaiian island of Kauai claims the title of the world’s most active volcano – so a visit here is likely not to disappoint. You’ll need to take a boat ride to see one of its most spectacular sights – red hot lava oozing into the ocean which causes the sea to boil and vaporise into white plumes of steam.
The Avenue of the Volcanoes in the Andes Mountains includes Cotopaxi volcano which, at almost 6000 metres, is the world’s highest active volcano. Even if Cotopaxi doesn’t blow her top during your visit, her perfectly symmetrical cone surrounded by pristine forests, lakes and wild horses should offer ample compensation.
Sierra Negra, Galapagos
One of the largest volcanoes in the Galapagos Archipelago, Sierra Negra last went off in 2005. As one of the most active volcanic areas in the world, the Galapagos Islands are considered perfect for volcano watching –so far there have been more than 50 eruptions in the last 200 years.