Touring my neighbourhood – Utstein abbey!

A couple of weeks ago, some friends from US and Germany decided to come visit me for a few days.  My friends are really into being out and about, so I figured I should at least try to keep them occupied. So guess who turned into the occasional tourist guide… yepp, me 😉

We drove around the area, looking at all sorts of sights, as there are quite a few things to do here in my region (Rogaland county). It’s a great place to visit.

As we roamed around, I thought.. maybe I should write about what places we’ve/they’ve seen.

Which again spark the idea of doing a small series on – Touring my neighbourhood – just in case anyone else decides to put the Stavanger region on their travel map!

And I’m kicking it all off with Utstein Abbey.

Utstein kloster - May 2016 w

The first day we covered a couple of historic sites, one of them Utstein Abbey (Utstein Kloster)

Utstein Abbey, is Norway’s best (and only?) preserved medieval monastery. The abbey is located at Klosterøy in Rennesøy municipality. About 30-40 minutes drive away from Stavanger.

There are bundles of history related to Utstein. I won’t be telling you everything, because the internet does this much better than me. But a few details can’t hurt 🙂

Utstein is mentioned in the history records going back to the 9th century, as it was cited as one of the residences of King Harald Hairfair, after the battle of Hafrsfjord.

There are some indications that the history of Utstein is even older, as Klosterøy and neighboring, Fjøløy, is rich in trace from prehistoric time. There are about 170 burial mounds registered here, the finds give no clear impression of these graves being from the elite environment, so it’s believed that local kings have had control of Utstein before Harald Hairfairs time.

But, let’s get back to the Abbey itself!

Utstein Kloster - May 2016 - Main

Most of the Utstein monastery were built in the second half of 1200 (1260) in a Gothic style, but there are indications that there was a religious building here even before that, as the baptismal font in the Abbey is from the 1100’s and there are reminisce of Romanesque style in the eastern wing (which originally was a freestanding house) dating back to the 1100s.

The church is unique in its kind in Norway, with the tower located midway between the chorus and ships.

Utstein Kloster - May 2016 - Church

The abbey was dedicated to Saint Laurence and was established during the reign of King Magnus in the middle of 1200s. The abbey was dissolved in 1537 and later came into control of the Garmann (1786) and Schanke (1885) families in Stavanger.

Utstein Kloster - Feb 2010 - Green Door

Utstein Abbey today, is run as a museum, course and conference center and even a few concerts are hosted here (oh, yeah, and there are rumours that it has it’s own ghost to).

It’s a beautiful place to visit, have a small picnic or just meander around, as the area is great for walks!

Utstein Kloster - May 2016 - Whole

Utstein Kloster - May 2016 Boathouse w

Even in the winter, the grounds are beautiful!

Utstein Kloster - Feb 2010 - Winter wonderland


Love to check it out from above? Here you go. A short YouTube video just for you 🙂

You want more on Utstein Abbey? Hopefully these will do the trick.

Region Stavanger – official tourist website

Stavanger Museum

Spotting History

11 thoughts on “Touring my neighbourhood – Utstein abbey!

  1. Thanks so much for the “virtual trip.” The pictures are just beautiful and the information you compiled is very interesting. I’m from New York, USA and haven’t been to Norway yet.
    I’m tuned in to minimalism, because I’m purging my house, in an effort to downsize. It’s not as easy as I thought. I’ve been in my house for 38 years and a LOT has accumulated. I’ve been scouring blogs to get some helpful hints on ways that other people have picked up a minimalistic life and, I found your blog on (Bill Brennan’s) “Simply Living Over 50.”

    It sounded like you and I are on the same page, so I decided to jump over to your blog.

    WELL DONE! Thanks for the tour.

    From: Kathy from:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 I thought a virtual trip of my area could be kinda cool, and boy am I learning a lot myself in the process (working on a new piece right now).

      You are right, downsizing is NOT an easy thing, and 38 years? I can imagine that you have a few things stashed around, I’ve found I need regular purgings just to kinda keep on top of it. Even though I seem to finally be getting a little closer to the minimalist I want to be (yeah.. still have ways to go). I like Bill’s blog, I’m so impressed with how he keeps on top of it all the time.. I wish I was that dedicated with the stuff I really should be doing….

      I’ll go check out your blog, thanks for finding me 🙂

      Anne Lene


    1. Thanks 🙂 It’s kinda cool isn’t it finding out more 🙂 I’m working on my next piece and it’s taking forever because I find myself “getting lost” in all the history while I’m looking for more details for the post 🙂 You might say.. I’m learning a lot as well in the process (even though most of it won’t even make it into the blogpost)… 🙂


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