World's 10 most spectacular volcanoes

COTOPAXI, ECUADOR

Sweeping upwards amid flat surrounds into a near-perfect cone sheathed in glaciers, this volcano is the stunning centrepiece of Cotopaxi National Park near Quito, which offers good hiking and wildlife spotting. Reaching the 5897-metre summit of the occasionally ash-spewing and rumbling Cotopaxi is however only for experienced climbers. It's part of Ecuador's Avenue of Volcanoes, which features 14 volcanoes strung over a 200-kilometre corridor, and culminating in the mighty 6263-metre Chimborazo. See ecuador.travel

KILAUEA, US

Lava sunrise on the southeast rift zone of Kilauea volcano
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Feeling brave? Kilauea volcano hit the news headlines recently when it erupted, destroying infrastructure and hundreds of homes and altering the landscape. The National Park Service has however just reopened Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You can walk parts of the summit of Kilauea's crater, which is now four times bigger, and marvel at the devastation. The famous glowing lava lake has vanished, but a new shoreline features jagged lava outcrops and black-sand beaches. See nps.gov/havo

MT VESUVIUS, ITALY

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Surrounded by hot-mud springs and still occasionally rumbling, Vesuvius looms unnervingly close to Naples, with suburbs and vineyards rising up its slopes. Nearby are the two Roman archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both devastated by a massive eruption in 79AD. You can ascend to the rim of mainland Europe's only active volcano for fabulous views into the crater. Visit the observatory for background into volcanology. See visitnaples.eu

MT FUJI, JAPAN

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Most Japanese are keen to make the arduous hike to the 3776-metre summit of this classic volcano, where they're rewarded with a red badge, but the appeal of the legendary mountain is best appreciated from a distance, where Mt Fuji's conical perfection rises in isolated splendour. On a clear day, you can see it from Tokyo or from the windows of passing bullet trains at Fuji city. See fujisan-kkb.jp

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, RWANDA

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Volcanoes National Park , Rwanda, 20 January 2017 A group of tourists and guide
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This national park is most famous for mountain gorillas, but volcano lovers will be happy too. You can explore volcanic caves and climb through dense forest to the exposed, barren rims of two volcanoes. Across the border is the Congo's Virunga National Park, where more fiery marvels unfold. Mt Nyiragongo, often dusted in snow, features the world's largest lava lake, where molten rock bubbles and hot gases erupt. See volcanoesnationalpark.org

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CRATER LAKE, US

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Crater Lake is one of America's most astonishing landscapes. Visitors see nothing until their cars crest the crater and the lake within it – which is America's deepest – comes dramatically into view, shimmering in shades of peacock blue. Around it rise cliffs and pine forests where chipmunks skitter. Many visitors only drive the scenic Rim Road, but a hike provides a more rewarding encounter with this incredible sight. See nps.gov/crla

OSORNO VOLCANO, CHILE

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Osorno is one of the most active volcanoes in the Andes, bears a striking resemblance to Mt Fuji, and towers over lakes and lava flows. Skilled climbers can access the glacier-encrusted summit. You can also ski at Volcan Osorno ski resort. There may be only two chairlifts and a dozen runs, but you get remarkable Andes views and great boasting rights – how many people have skied a volcano? See volcanosorno.com

MT BROMO, INDONESIA

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*** EDITORIAL USE ONLY ***Mount Bromo volcano (Gunung Bromo)in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, East Java, Indonesia.

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Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park is a wonderland of volcanic landscapes, dramatic highlands, lakes and spectacular scenery. Though home to Java's highest mountain, Mt Semeru volcano, most visitors head to the more accessible and still occasionally erupting Mt Bromo. A stumbling, early-morning ascent of the crater in the dark puts you in a grandstand seat for sunrise, when the vast crater's colours are at their most splendid. See indonesia.travel

EYJAFJALLAJOKULL, ICELAND

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*** EDITORIAL USE ONLY ***Eyjafjallajokull volcano, erupted on 2010, landmark of Iceland with surrounded nature scene in winter season under cloudy blue sky

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Remember the 2010 ash cloud that caused flight chaos across northern Europe? This glaciated volcano with the unpronounceable name was the cause. A century ago it stood on the shoreline. Now it's five kilometres inland and has left behind cliffs tumbling with waterfalls. Specialist tours will take you onto the glacier and volcano, which is once more dormant. The 2010 ash field is now partially covered in ice. See inspiredbyiceland.com

DALLOL VOLCANO, ETHIOPIA

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Dallol volcano, Ethiopia. Photo: Shutterstock

The Danakil Depression of north-eastern Ethiopia is a natural phenomenon in itself, to which is added a huge volcanic crater. Sitting well below sea level, these are the world's lowest volcanic vents, a toxic mix of hot brine and acids that create vivid green pools amid yellow, pink and white saltpans. This is one of the planet's lowest and hottest places, with steamy average temperatures permanently above 30C. See ethiopia.travel

The writer has travelled as a guest of numerous tourism offices and at his own expense.

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