Is it safe to visit the country?

There is a maximum alert in Iceland due to the volcanic activity that has affected the area in recent months Reykjanes Peninsula, in the southwest of the country. The Icelandic Meteorological Institute (IMO) warned the population and visitors that a new volcanic eruption, after that of March 16 that caused the evacuation of the town of Grindavík, damaged by lava. So if you’re planning a trip to Iceland, here’s what you need to know.

What to know about the volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes Peninsula

In its latest report, the IMO said that magma continues to accumulate in the reservoir in the area of Black bed, with about 50-80 small earthquakes recorded every day. If an eruption were to occur, there would likely be little warning. Grindavikin the Suðurnes region, only 40 km southwest of the capital Reykjavíkit is the closest city to where the volcanic activity started again later almost 800 years of dormancy. It is the only settlement on the southern coast of the Reykjanes peninsula, and also one of the most important fishing centers in all of Iceland. Also, a short distance away is the famous geothermal spa of La Blue Lagoon whose very hot waters come from the nearby Svartsengi power plant.

As mentioned, Grindavík was evacuated during the latest eruption – the fourth since December 2023 and the seventh in three years – which opened a fissure in the ground almost 3 km long between two mountains, seeing a lava flow reaching the edge of the city. Since then, many of its inhabitants have not returned and the roads are closed, according to a Times. The fear is that after a new volcanic eruption, the lava could also damage other infrastructure in the area, such as a power plant and a series of geothermal plants. We are talking about one of the most densely populated regions of the Iceland.

We also remember that the country hosts the the largest number of active volcanoes of Europe, there are 33. In August 2023, the spectacular eruption that awakened the Fagradalsfjall From a sleep of 8 centuries in the southwest of Iceland, it has attracted thousands of visitors. But now, authorities continue to warn tourists to stay away from the area affected by recent volcanic activity near Grindavík.

Is it safe to travel to Iceland now?

At the moment, it is not safe to visit neither the volcano site nor the town of Grindavik, but the rest of the country, including the capital Reykjavik, is considered safe. The Blue Lagoon, which had been temporarily closed during previous eruptions, has also returned to normal operation. The last update from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dates from May 7. Currently, it is allowed to do so excursions along the paths of the volcano of Fagradalsfjall, to discover the sites of previous eruptions of Selatangar, Húshólma, Krýsuvíkurbjarg.

On the contrary, local authorities recommend not approaching the site of the new eruption, since the area is off-limits to the public, since it is considered unsafe. It is also recommended to carry out a constant monitoring information for travelers provided by the local authorities, and to keep informed, also through the media, about the weather and the road situation, always adhering to the measures issued by the Icelandic government.

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