Atlasova Island, Russia

Atlasova Island centers around its Alaid volcano, the tallest and most beautiful in the Kurils. Praised for its near perfect conical shape, the 7,600-foot-high volcano dominates a tundra landscape bursting with summer wildflowers. Local legends say that Alaid’s beauty made the other volcanoes so jealous, they banished her to the seas. Set off the Kamchatka Peninsula just west of Shumshu Island, Atlasova served as a women’s gulag during the Soviet era. Today’s inhabitants range from arctic fox to sea otter, from sea lions and seals lazing on the black-sand beaches to a wide variety of bird species — including Steller's sea eagle, the world’s largest sea eagle. Pods of orca whales are often spotted off the island’s coast.