iceland lava eruption at fimmvorduhals eyjafjallajokull volcano 2010 astk

Volcano Hotline

For many years we’ve been sending our clients to experience the splendour of Iceland’s volatile landscape – brooding volcanoes, seething geothermal springs, steaming lava flows and, from time to time, live eruptions!

These tend to occur once every five years, but are also fickle and hard to predict. Eruptions may last only days or sometimes, months and can be part of a recurring period of activity. This is currently being seen on the Reykjanes Peninsula in south west Iceland, with three eruptions since December 2023, the most recent starting on 8 February 2024 and ending shortly afterwards. The Blue Lagoon has experienced temporary closures as a consequence, but there is no disruption to flights and the majority of Iceland is unaffected and safe to visit.

Though not currently the case, most eruptions in Iceland are in remote locations meaning sightseeing trips are possible to arrange. Sign-up to our hotline and we will be in touch when, and if it is possible to view an eruption.

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Iceland Volcano Disruption Protection

We are proud of our excellent reputation for looking after our clients, without question. Should the unexpected occur our team of dedicated Travel Specialists are on call 24/7 to make any necessary alternative plans at no cost to you.

Terms & Conditions: We are unable to extend this guarantee to any other independent travel arrangements booked by you (eg. travel to/from the airport, your own flights or other arrangements not booked through Discover the World). Our Volcano Disruption Protection applies only to holidays to Iceland, for disruption caused by volcanic activity.

Recent Seismic Activity

Reykjanes Peninsula, January 2024

This latest eruption is the sixth on the peninsula since March 2021 with three since December 2023. On 18 December 2023, a long fissure over 4km long opened but stopped emitting lava on 21 December. Seismic activity continued and the volcano began erupting again in the early hours of Sunday 14 January, sadly causing extensive damage to the town of Grindavik. Though the town was safely evacuated, the nearby area is closed and under the closest of surveillance. Particularly so as this pattern of short-lived eruptions in the area looks to continue over the coming months.

For eruptions to have such a large impact on infrastructure is rare in Iceland. The last being over 50 years ago in the Westman Islands. Many are in remote locations and can be witnessed on special excursions.

Icelanders are used to their country rumbling and the island’s geological features are a huge part of its global allure. The country has one of the world’s most effective volcanic preparedness measures with sophisticated monitoring systems that allow locals and visitors alike to not only live with volcanoes but also embrace these natural wonders.

2022 eruption

The previous eruption started on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula on 3 August 2022. Magma pushed to the surface in the Merardalir valley near to the site of the 2021 eruption also on the peninsula. A tourist-friendly eruption, volcanic activity lasted several weeks before subsiding. View images from the eruption in August 2022 and the changed landscape.

Volcanic eruption, 2021

On Friday 19 March 2021, a volcanic eruption started in the Fagradalsfjall area of the Reykjanes Peninsula around 25km from Reykjavik. A fissure around 500 – 700 metres long opened up releasing red hot lava flows in a dramatic spectacle. The eruption was closely monitored to ensure there was no threat to inhabitants or infrastructure. Multiple fissures subsequently opened and this tourist-friendly eruption became a visitor hotspot for both Icelanders, and once travel restrictions were lifted in spring/summer 2021, overseas tourists keen to witness nature in the raw. While the eruption is no longer live, it lasted for the rest of 2021, and the site is still a popular visitor attraction.

iceland fagradalsfjall eruption site 20mar2021 by rth sigurdsson

Eruption in the Highlands, 2014

The previous most recent significant volcanic eruption in Iceland was at the Holuhraun lava field, north of the Vatnajokull icecap in the central Highlands. This spectacular eruption lasted six months from late August 2014 to the end of February 2015. Fountains of molten rock erupted from fissures up to a mile in length, producing a lava field over 85 sq km in area – the largest in Iceland since the Laki eruption of 1783. A marked hiking trail has since opened through the lava field.

Making headlines in 2010

Prior to that, the 2010 eruption at Eyjafjallajökull made global headlines, sending a huge volcanic ash cloud high into the atmosphere that grounded aviation in the northern hemisphere for several days. The eruption had started as a tourist eruption with lava being emitted from fissures in stunning fashion against the dark skies of March. But a second, more powerful phase saw a fissure open under the thick ice of the glacier, which erupted explosively on 14 April 2010 creating the now infamous ash cloud.

iceland fagradalsfjall eruption site 20mar2021 by rth sigurdsson

Volcano Day Trips & Excursions

Our collection of specialised excursions includes superjeep adventures and dedicated volcano experiences, which can be incorporated into any self drive itinerary in Iceland.

iceland inside thrihnukagigur volcano rth

Inside the Volcano

The dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Southwest Iceland. This huge volcanic magma chamber is now accessible to people to venture inside on a tour lasting 5-6 hours including transfers from Reykjavik.

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iceland aerial view over eyjafjallajokull with superjeep sca

Eyjafjallajokull Volcano by Superjeep

Take an exciting excursion to Eyjafjallajokull – the site of the 2010 eruption – with an expert Superjeep driver/guide. Climb the slopes of the glacier with this highly adapted 4×4 vehicle taking in views of the south shore.

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iceland snaefellsnes vidgelmir lava cave

Lava Cave Explorer

Located near to Borgarfjordur in the west of Iceland, the Vidgelmir lava cave offers the chance to explore Iceland’s magical underworld on a 1.5 hour walking adventure.

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iceland lava centre eruption timeline 1

Lava Centre

This centre offers visitors a full multimedia experience; immersing guests into Iceland’s volcanic and seismic life. It’s the largest museum of its kind in the country.

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