Emergency Travel Update: Is Iceland Safe for Travel After the Volcanic Eruption?

A volcano erupted Monday night on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Southwest Iceland after weeks of intense earthquake activity. 

The eruption happened on 18 December at 10:17 pm ET, about 4km northeast of Grindavik, a town that was evacuated in November due to the seismic activity. 

This marks the fourth eruption in the region since 2021, and it is the most substantial one yet, characterized by an initial fissure opening spanning 4 kilometers, as reported by Iceland’s government.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office reports that the eruption’s magnitude has steadily decreased since Monday evening, with the lava flow now estimated to be only a quarter of its initial size at the eruption’s onset.

However, the IMO stated that the volcanic hazard assessment in the region remains unchanged, and there is still a significant likelihood of a volcanic eruption in the coming days.

If your travel plans involve the affected region, here is comprehensive information on guidance provided by European governments and airlines.

Is It Safe to Travel to Iceland After the Recent Volcanic Eruption?

Despite the ongoing volcanic eruption, major airlines have not canceled their flights to and from Keflavik International Airport, the main gateway to Iceland, as confirmed by Iceland’s foreign minister, Bjarni Benediktsson. 

He conveyed on X that flights to and from Iceland experienced no disruptions, and international flight corridors remained open.

Icelandair’s website also reassured that the eruption does not affect their operations or Keflavík airport, and their flight schedule remains unchanged

The Keflavik International Airport, located about 20 km from the eruption site, is operating as normal.

Authorities stress that the eruption does not pose an immediate threat to visitors, and they have evacuated only Grindavik, a small town near the eruption site, as a precautionary measure.

Visit Reykjanes, the region’s official tourism organization, reports that authorities have not made any additional evacuations.

While the Icelandic authorities have closed all roads to the eruption site due to the risk of gas emissions, rock falls, and lava, travelers should stay updated on volcanic activity and air quality. 

Check for the latest updates from the Icelandic Meteorological Office, civil protection agency, and travel providers before and during their trip.

Travelers should also respect the safety measures and the restricted areas around the eruption site, and avoid any unnecessary risks.

Which Tourist Attractions in Iceland Are Closed?

The authorities have scheduled the closure of Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa until December 27.

However, popular attractions such as the Golden Circle, the South Coast, and the Northern Lights remain accessible to tourists.

Tour companies like Intrepid Travel, Jacada Travel, and Road Scholar have adjusted their itineraries by replacing Blue Lagoon with alternative spas, such as Sky Lagoon Iceland.

Meghan Flynn, the Associate Vice President of Program Strategy for Road Scholar, stated, “We have promptly updated the itineraries, transitioning from Blue Lagoon to Sky Lagoon.”

Meanwhile, Yves Marceau, the Vice President of Product at G Adventures, mentioned that the company has offered refunds to customers who had Blue Lagoon in their travel plans.

Can Travellers Witness the Eruption?

Unfortunately, no.

For everyone’s safety, authorities have blocked access to the eruption site.

Currently, authorities have closed off all routes to Grindavik, and they have restricted public access to the entire vicinity surrounding the Blue Lagoon.

Vidir Reynisson, the head of Iceland’s Civil Protection and Emergency Management, conveyed to the national broadcaster RUV that it is not a tourist attraction, and people must watch it from a great distance.

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Denver Boter

Denver is a seasoned travel enthusiast and dedicated writer. He covers the latest travel news for jasminealley.com. Denver's work focuses on bringing compelling travel news and insights to our readers (you!) so that you can learn what's going on in the world of travel!
Picture of Denver Boter

Denver Boter

Denver is a seasoned travel enthusiast and dedicated writer. He covers the latest travel news for jasminealley.com. Denver's work focuses on bringing compelling travel news and insights to our readers (you!) so that you can learn what's going on in the world of travel!

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Hi, I’m Jasmine! I’m a nature-obsessed, beauty-finding, Jesus-loving dreamer with a serious case of wanderlust. I love to create photo-worthy travel content and hope to fill your travel plans with incredible beauty and breathtaking views! Thanks for following along on my adventures!

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