Feel the heat as you hike an active volcano

You spend your whole life on Earth. Why not try and look into its depths before you kick the bucket?

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Ascending a volcano is never easy. It's often steep, precarious to walk on due to the slippery rocks and each volcano comes with its own mix of safe and off-limits areas.

Before you decide to make the climb up a powerful, lava-filled hill, remember to check the local conditions and ensure you're always being safe.

Mount Etna, Italy

(Image: Piermanuele Sberni, Unsplash)

Ascending Mount Etna feels like moving into a different plane of existence.

It's also the highest active volcano in Europe at over 3,300 metres above sea level. Altitude sickness can set in if you decide to head up too quickly, so make sure you take frequent rests as you ascend so your body can adjust to the thinner air and higher pressures.

If you walk the 2 hours between 1,900m and 2,500m, you'll get a chance to see the alien landscape, complete with odourful fog, unfold before your eyes. If you'd rather not expend your energy you can take a cable car and a 4WD to the top for a fee.

Once you get to the main viewing area just below the summit, ensure you keep a close eye on the highest peak, as it can regularly have micro gas eruptions which make for quite a sight.

As you walk around the crater, also, stick your hand into one of the small holes in the Earth and feel the difference in temperature!

Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand (also known as Mount Doom)

Want a literal power trip? It doesn't get much more powerful than the volcano where the One Ring to Rule Them All was forged.

That's right: the real life Mount Doom is the active stratovolcano, Mount Ngauruhoe in New Zealand.

Get your fellowship together and hike over the Tongariro Crossing to get to Mount Ngauruhoe. Be warned that the trek can take over eight hours to complete. Bring a tent, perhaps?

Watch the lava flow in Hawaii

(Image: Julian Millet, Unsplash)

You'll certainly feel the heat on these three volcanoes, but getting up close and personal with lava is always a tricky affair. You won't be able to peer into the open mouth of a volcano when you climb Etna or Vesuvius, for example.

To truly see flowing lava up close and personal, you'll need to head to Hawaii in the US. You can explore lava either by land, boat or air around the Big Island in Hawaii. Hooking up with a lava tour guide is the best (and safest) way to explore the molten fields.

More bucket list inspiration

Main image: Geno Church, Unsplash

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