Will the volcanic eruption in Iceland affect holiday travel?  

iceland travel

A volcanic eruption on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula has sparked concerns that air travel could be disrupted if the situation worsens, potentially threatening the holiday plans of thousands heading home for Christmas. 

Over the last few days, the eyes of the world have been turned to the small fishing town of Grindavík, which lies on the southwest coast of Iceland.  

It is sparsely populated, boasting just under 3,700 residents, but is shadowed by the Sundhnúkagígaröðin volcano that burst into life on the night of Monday 18th December after a series of earthquakes and tremors rocked the area. 

The volcano is reported to have spewed lava fountains up to 100 metres high into the air, which could be seen from the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, 53 kilometres away. With a fissure in the volcano about 3.5 kilometres long, and lava flowing at 100 to 200 cubic metres per second, it is the biggest eruption to have hit the area in recent times.  


By most accounts, the Icelandic government has the situation well in hand and the danger level is low for those on the ground, though the smell of the smoke and ash is said to be apparent over large distances. The residents of Grindavík, as well as tourists visiting the famous Blue Lagoon nearby, had already been excavated prior to the eruption as a precaution. 

Speaking from Iceland, Doctor Ilyinskaya, an associate professor of volcanology at Leeds University, told the BBC that locals had been “fearing and waiting for” the volcano to blow, and that authorities were preparing for the worst, whilst hoping for the best.  


Both domestically and internationally, there are concerns about the impact the volcano could have on air travel. Back in 2010, a separate eruption in Iceland led to chaos in the skies for several days as experts warned about the damage volcanic ash could have on aircraft and their engines.  

As of now, no flights have been cancelled out of Iceland’s Keflavik Airport, nor are there any significant delays. Airlines are saying that they will keep in contact with passengers regarding any changes to the situation and that they are keeping a close watch on the events as they unfold. The general belief at the moment is that a 2010-style shutdown is unlikely.  


Join the Monaco Life community – the largest English media in the Principality.  

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on  Facebook, Instagram , LinkedIn  and Tik Tok. 


Photo source: Landhelgisgæsla Íslands/Icelandic Coast Guard via Facebook