Hotels Provide Shelter for Tourists Stranded in Winter Weather

winter weather iceland

More than 30 tourists sought shelter in the Dyrhólaey Hotel on the evening of December 25 when their bus, whose driver had ignored road closures, became stranded in the snow.

The bus in question was operated by the company Hopbílar.

Storms across South and Southeast Iceland interrupted many holiday plans, keeping rescue teams busy for the night. No aid station was opened, with travelers instead seeking last-minute shelter at several hotels across the South Coast.

See also: Airlines Recovering from Storm Delays

Hotel Midgard in Hvolsvöllur is also reported as having opened its doors to more than 70 stranded tourists. Hvolsvöllur, a small town in South Iceland, is often passed through on the way to other South Coast destinations, and serves as a transit hub for the region.

Björg Árnadóttir, manager at the Midgard Hotel, stated to RÚV that not all could be accommodated, with some needing to sleep on mattresses in the hotel lobby.

As of December 26, conditions have begun to clear, with most travelers continuing on their way.

As of the time of writing, Route 1 is open from between the Markarfljót river and Vík on the South Coast.

Especially during the winter, travelers should consult road closures and the latest information on weather warnings at




Yellow Weather Alert Issued for Greater Reykjavík Area Today

The Icelandic Met Office issues yellow weather alert

The Icelandic Met Office has issued a yellow weather alert for the Faxaflói Bay, area, including the Greater Reykjavík Area, today. The warning will come into effect at noon and will stay in effect until 9 pm tonight.

The Met Office expects east and southeast winds between 15-23 m/S with gusts up to 30-35 m/s near mountains in the Faxaflói Bay area (including the Greater Reykjavík Area) today. A yellow weather alert has been issued from noon to 9 pm tonight. Travellers are advised to drive carefully as the weather is likely to cause, “some transport disturbances and closure of isolated routes.”

Over the day, the Met Office expects the weather to gradually improve in the south but grow worse in the west. A yellow weather alert will come into effect for the Breiðafjörður area later in the day. As meteorologists expect a blizzard in the West Fjords later today an orange weather alert will be in effect in the area from 5 pm today until noon Saturday.

South Iceland (Orange Alert, Blizzard): 12 pm – 3 pm
Central Highlands (Yellow Alert, Blizzard): 11 am – midnight
Faxaflói Bay, including RVK (Yellow Alert, Severe Gales): noon – 9 pm
Breiðafjörður (Yellow Alert, Northeast Blizzard): 3 pm – 11.30 am
West Fjords (Orange Alert, Blizzard): 5 pm – 14 pm tomorrow

The Met Office encourages travellers to monitor the weather today closely, e.g. on where road conditions are displayed in real-time.

Yellow Weather Alert Issued for Reykjavík Area Tomorrow

The Icelandic Met Office has issued a yellow weather alert for the Greater Reykjavík Area tomorrow, January 4. Orange and Yellow weather alerts will also be in effect in most parts of the country tomorrow, excluding parts of North East Iceland. 

As indicated on the Met’s web site, a yellow weather alert will be in effect in the Greater Reykjavík Area from 9 am to 2 pm tomorrow. The Met Office predicts a southeast gale or a severe gale, with wind speeds between 15-24 m/s. Routes that lead out of the city – Kjalarnes, Hellisheiði, Reykjanesbraut – are expected to be extremely windy with violent gusts. There is a high likelihood of poor visibility and snowfall. The storm is expected to pass rather quickly, but traffic delays are expected in the meantime. Travellers are advised to monitor road conditions closely, e.g. on

Yellow and orange weather alerts will also be in effect in other parts of the country during the following hours:

South Iceland: 8 am to 3 pm
Faxaflói Bay (Southwest Iceland): 9 am to 3 pm
Breiðafjörður (West Iceland): 11 am to 4 pm
Central Highlands: 11 am to 6 pm

Westfjords: Noon to 5 pm
North West Iceland: Noon to 5.30 pm
South East Iceland: Noon to 5 pm

The Met Office’s countrywide forecast for the next 24 hours reads as follows: 

“Northerly 10-18 m/s with snow or snow showers in North- and East-Iceland. Lighter wind and becoming fair in South- and West-Iceland. Light wind and dry in all parts late in the evening. Frost 3 to 13 deg. C. Becoming southeast 18-25 tomorrow with snow at first, later rain or sleet. Turns to southwest 10-18 in the afternoon with showers of rain or sleet in the south and west parts. Becoming warmer, temperature 2 to 7 deg. C. late afternoon.”

Avalanche Leaves Segment of Ring Road Impassable

Segment of Ring Road is impassable

A 500-metre wide avalanche has fallen onto the road in Ljósavatnsskarð near lake Ljósavatn in North Iceland, Mbl reports. The road forms a part of the Ring Road, which runs around the island and connects most of the inhabited parts of the country.

A motorist passing through Ljósavatnsskarð from the east drove into a 500-metre wide avalanche that fell near lake Ljósavatn in North Iceland. The accident occurred just before 9 pm yesterday. The motorist, who was not injured, received assistance from a local rescue unit.

According to a representative from the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration, all roads lying east from Akureyri are currently impassable and so is the route through Öxnadalsheiði to the west of Akureyri. Roads may open again today.

The Police in Northeast Iceland warns that as a lot of snow fell yesterday, there is still a risk of avalanches in the area. Travellers are encouraged to check road conditions – on, for example – before heading out. A yellow weather alert is in effect for large parts of Iceland.


New Map Aims to Improve Safety of Travellers in Iceland, which aims to reduce the risk of travel-related accidents in Iceland, has introduced a new map. Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir formally introduced the map at the What’s On Tourist Information Centre in downtown Reykjavík this week.

The new map combines what once were three maps –,, and – into one. Speaking at What’s On (Bankastræti 2) on Wednesday, Minister Þórdís Kolbrún stated that the new map was a “big step forward in ensuring the safety of travellers in Iceland.” The map displays travel conditions in real time: weather, road conditions, conditions at tourist attractions, wind gusts on roads, avalanche warnings, and more.

The map is a collaborative project between the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Innovation of Iceland; the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue (ICE-SAR); and Sjóvá-Almennar Insurance. The Safetravel project was recently renewed with increased funding from the Ministry. The new map is no less useful to locals as it is to tourists.

The map allows easy access to travel-related information, which is important considering that weather conditions in Iceland are known to change quickly.