Top 10 Most Famous Volcanoes In The World

Volcanoes are some of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world, even though they can cause serious trouble for people living in their vicinity.

These fascinating mountains are described as ruptures in the crust of the Earth through which lava, volcanic ash, and gases can escape. When this happens it creates an amazing natural spectacle that looks amazing but can be quite devastating as well.

Not all the volcanoes in our list with the most famous volcanoes in the world are active, but they all look pretty amazing, that’s for sure.

1. Mount Fuji

Did you know that the highest mountain in Japan is an active stratovolcano? Mount Fuji is one of the most distinctive peaks in the world as it forms the background of the largest metropolitan area on the planet, Tokyo.

This volcano stands 3,776.24 meters (12,389.2 feet) tall and last erupted in the early 18th century between 1707 and 1708. It’s one of the most iconic natural landmarks in Japan as it features one of the most symmetrical cones of any volcano in the world.

Famous Volcanoes mount fuji

2. Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius is world-famous because of an eruption that destroyed multiple cities in ancient Rome during the 1st century A.D. It’s located on the Gulf of Naples in southern Italy and the event in 79 A.D. destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, and Stabiae.

Even though the mountain only stands 1,281 meters (4,203 feet) tall, it’s considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. About 3 million people live in its vicinity and an eruption isn’t unfathomable as it has erupted multiple times during the 20th century.

Mount Vesuvius Naples
Mount Vesuvius and Naples / Bill Chizek /

3. Kīlauea

Kīlauea means “Spewing” in Hawaiian and is the most active volcano on the Hawaiian Islands. It’s located on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi and has been erupting recently between December 20, 2020, and May 23, 2021.

This is yet another one of the famous volcanoes that don’t impressive in height as it only stands 1,247 meters (4,091 feet) tall. That’s why it was originally considered to be a satellite volcano of its bigger brother, Mauna Loa.

Kilauea Crater

4. Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano is the most active volcano in Costa Rica, a small country in Central America. It’s located about 90 kilometers (56 miles) northwest of the capital of the country, San José, and is the centerpiece of the “Arenal Volcano National Park.”

This volcano in Costa Rica is another great example of a conical-shaped volcano and features a crater that has a diameter of 140 meters (460 feet). It’s also an extremely young volcano as it’s considered to be just 7,500 years old, which means that it’s pretty much a baby volcano.

Arenal Volcano Costa Rica

5. Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi is one of the most amazing peaks of the Andes Mountain range in South America. It’s the second-highest mountain in Ecuador as it stands 5,897 meters (19,347 feet), a height that makes it one of the highest volcanoes on the planet.

This is another very active volcano as it has erupted over 50 times since 1738. The last time it erupted was also fairly recently between August 2015 and January 2016. These eruptions have created a magnificent landscape full of valleys around the snow-covered peak of the volcano.

Cotopaxi landscape

6. Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and one of the most amazing natural landmarks on the planet. It’s a dormant volcano that rises above the relatively flat plateau of the Kilimanjaro National Park, making it the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

Its highest summit reaches a height of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) and the volcano stands 4,900 meters (16,100 feet) above its base below, an incredible sight to behold. It also features 3 distinctively separate cones and is currently still covered in amazing glaciers and ice fields, features that will disappear anywhere between 2030 and 2050 due to global warming.

Kilimanjaro in Africa

7. Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier is also sometimes referred to as “Tahoma” or “Tacoma,” and is the highest mountain in the U.S. state of Washington and the Cascade Range. It stands 4,392 meters (14,411 feet) tall which also makes it the most topographically prominent mountain in the U.S. mainland.

It’s an active composite volcano and one of the most dangerous in the world as well. That’s mainly because it’s located just 95 kilometers (58 miles) south-southeast of the large metropolitan area of Seattle. The main threat is the glacial ice turning into a massive mudflow following an eruption, an event that could threaten the entire Puyallup River Valley.

Mount Rainier famous volcanoes

8. Krakatoa

Krakatoa is one of the most peculiar of all the famous volcanoes in the world. It’s a so-called “caldera,” a natural feature that resembles a cauldron. instead of cooking food, it features hot boiling magma. It’s located in the Sunda Strait which is situated between the Indonesian Islands of Java and Sumatra.

Because of its location right in the middle of the water, it also stands relatively low above sea level at a height of just 813 meters (2,667 feet). This particular caldera is part of the Krakatoa Archipelago. This consists of 4 uninhabited islands (who would want to live here), two of which were formed during previous eruptions.

Krakatoa Volcano
View of the intriguing Krakatoa / Wiki Commons

9. Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens is another fascinating volcano located in Skamania County in the U.S. State of Washington. It’s situated about 83 kilometers (52 miles) northeast of Portland, Oregon, and 158 kilometers (98 kilometers) south of Seattle.

Even though the volcano looks pretty amazing, it’s the cause of one of the most costly calamities in U.S. history. Its eruption on May 18, 1980, cost the lives of 75 people and incredible damage to infrastructure in its vicinity. The horseshoe-like crater with a width of about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) was formed during this devastating event.

Mount St Helens
Mount St. Helens in Washington State / Wiki Commons

10. Mount Etna

The east coast of the Italian island of Sicily is dominated by Mount Etna, an active stratovolcano that stands 3,357 meters (11,014 feet) above sea level. This makes it one of the tallest volcanoes in Europe. It’s also the largest of the 3 active volcanoes in Italy, covering an area of 1,190 square kilometers (459 square miles), which is two and a half times the size of Mount Vesuvius.

It’s considered to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world, something that makes it all the more surprising that it’s located right in between 2 relatively large metropolitan areas, those of Messina and Catania. This enormous volcano in the background of the city of Catania does provide incredible panoramic views, don’t you think?

Mount Etna Sicily
Catania and Mount Etna / Ben Aveling /