In pictures: Catania’s volcanic coast

Aci Castello on the Catania coastline, Sicily

For a coastal city, it’s strangely easy to spend time in Catania and forget the sea is even there. Most of the city’s seafront is filled with its busy harbour, but you don’t need to go far to get a taste of sea air. Just north of the city are a string of former fishing villages, where dark volcanic rocks formed by Mount Etna’s eruptions meet the clear turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea. Off the coast at Aci Trezza you can see three tall, rocky outcrops known as the Cyclops Islands. … 

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Costa Rica’s elusive Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

One of Costa Rica’s most famous sights, how hard can it be to spot a volcano that’s 1600 metres high and has a 140-metre-wide crater when you’re only a few miles away from it? Well, a lot harder than you’d think. A perfect cone-shaped peak – or so I’m told – Volcan Arenal towers over the nearby town of La Fortuna. But local weather conditions mean that the top is often totally covered by clouds, and its not unusual to go your whole visit without ever seeing the summit, as I found out on my trip there…. 

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Inside the volcano: Climbing Vesuvius’ crater

Climbing Vesuvius’ crater

‘We’re going where?’ After trudging up a kilometre-long stony, dusty track as it looped its way up the side of the volcano, we had reached the top of Vesuvius. Or so I thought. To our right a neatly fenced-off path led a steady flow of people along the edge of one half of the crater. But we weren’t going that way. Instead our guide was pointing to the left, up what looked less like a path and more like an uneven pile of rocks. This tour was definitely taking us off the beaten – or any – track. … 

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