Travel By Numbers: Volcanoes

Volcanoes and travel plans don't mix, right? Wrong! Ben Ross counts the calderas
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The Independent Travel


The date in March 2010 that the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland erupted for the first time in nearly 200 years. This was initially seen by the travel industry as an opportunity to sell holidays, with operators offering volcano-watching packages. However, a second eruption on 14 April was much more powerful and resulted in a vast plume of ash, the effects of which on European air travel are still being felt. When the dust settles, Iceland Express will fly you to the cause of all the trouble from £158 return.


The year of the first ascent by a foreigner of Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan and an active volcano (although the last eruption was in 1708). Sir Rutherford Alcock completed the trip in eight hours, and these days an estimated 200,000 people climb Mount Fuji annually. Explore offers the chance to reach the summit as an option on its 14-day Family Holiday in Japan tour, which costs £3,090 per adult and £2,810 per child, including flights. The next departure is 14 August.


The year of a massive eruption of Arenal, the most active volcano in Costa Rica. The nearby town of Tabacó*was wiped out and 78 people were killed. Since then the volcano has erupted regularly, although not with such ferocity. A visit to the Arenal Volcano National Park forms part of the 14-day Classic Costa Rica itinerary offered by Audley Travel, with prices starting at £1,930 including flights.


The length in kilometres of Ecuador's Avenue of the Volcanoes, which runs from Quito to Cuenca and includes Cotopaxi, at 5,897m the second-highest active volcano in the world. Exodus runs a 16-day trip, including a hike to the top of Cotopaxi, for £2,249 including flights. The next departure is 18 September.


The volume in cubic metres of Mauna Loa, one of five volcanoes that make up the Island of Hawaii, and the largest volcano on Earth in terms of volume. Mauna Loa is part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where various drives and hikes are available.


The distance in kilometres of Mount Vesuvius from Naples. The only volcano on the Italian mainland to have erupted in the last 100 years (most recently in 1944), it was responsible for the obliteration of Pompeii in 79AD and is now regarded by some as the most dangerous volcano on earth, due to the close proximity of three million people. Rather than dwell on this, visitors may prefer to concentrate on Naples' excellent pizza, a dish which originated in the city. Try Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba at via Port'Alba (00 39 081 459 713), said to be the oldest pizzeria in town.


The number of British tourists who visited the Canary Islands in 2009, making it our favourite volcanic holiday destination. The Atlantic archipelago is dominated by Teide, Tenerife's vast volcano, the caldera of which offers up a weird, sci-fi landscape. Lanzarote is also a treat for vulcanologists, particularly the lava fields of Montañas de Fuego (Fire Mountains).


The length in kilometres of the circumference of the base of Sicily's Mount Etna, making it the largest active volcano in Europe. Etna Experience offers a variety of day-long tours of the mountain from €59 per person, including a picnic.