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5 Volcanic Islands perfect for holidays

An island holiday always feels just that bit more of an escape than a mainland holiday. Surrounded by shoreline, the only way out by sea or air, simply makes for relaxation. Each island has its own unique history as to how it separated from the mainland, but there is a kind of island which has its own special history: a volcanic one.

Below is a selection of five volcanic (mostly inactive…) islands which can make great travel destinations.

Reunion Island

This French island in the Indian Ocean has two volcanoes, one of which – Piton de Neige – is extinct, leaving its crater free to be explored. The other volcano, Piton de la Fournaise, smoulders a warning as to possible new eruptions. The tropical island, created from rock, has many waterfalls which flow over the island’s plateaus: definitely worth a visit. The French influence is easily seen in the towns scattered across the island. St Leu is a particular favourite with surfers.

Montserrat

Situated in the Caribbean, near the much larger island of St Kitts, Montserrat’s volcano is actually still active. There is an exclusion zone in place, for obvious reasons, but the tiny UK island is still well visited for the very reason that the volcano’s activity can be witnessed. The volcano began erupting in the 1990s and has continued, destroying the island’s capital, Plymouth. The north of the island, the one-third in which visitors are based, is green and lush, and guests can take advantage of unrivalled Caribbean snorkelling and diving opportunities or, above water, the great hiking it has to offer. In the island’s villages such as Cudjoe Head and Little Bay, there are various ‘rum shops’ in which to hang out.

Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest island in the Canaries archipelago. Much of the volcanic terrain is unspoilt, with its own endemic fauna and flora, and dramatic horizons. Arguably known more for its coastline tourism, the island offers dramatic mountain drives through scenery created from its ancient volcanic activity. Much of the island is national park, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007, and there are free walking tours provided by park rangers. The last volcanic eruption occurred in 1909, so visitors are pretty safe! The impressive Masca and pretty Garachico are must-see villages. The island is easily reached from mainland Europe and there are many cheap flights to Tenerife from the UK via low cost airlines such as Jet2.

Teide in Tenerife

Iceland

Now, of course, notorious since the events of 2010, Iceland is a volcanic island, with evidence of its under-floor heating clear at the famous geysers which force jets of hot mud into the air and where gases bubble up continually. While much of the island can be seen on an organised tour, Reykjavik is these days a cool capital, with plenty of bars and nightlife, and the possibility of seeing the incredible Northern Lights.

Fogo

A member of the Cape Verde islands, Fogo offers outstanding scenery, dominated by the Mount Fogo volcano. The volcano is active, with a five-mile crater, and reaches 9000 feet. Despite its volcanic history, the island is green and fertile, with tropical valleys and vineyards to offset the lunar landscape left by the lava. A visit to the clifftop and seafront town of Sao Fillipe is essential, with its colonial architecture and black sandy beaches.

Photo credits:
Montserrat’s Volcano by sprogitt on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/sprogitt/
Teide in Tenerife by Isr on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/lsr/

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