In many of the surrounding areas of Stavanger you are walking in the footsteps of the Vikings … one of these areas is Mosterøy in Rennesøy municipality. This is where you will find Utstein Kloster, Norway’s only preserved medieval monastery.
We visited a beautiful Sunday in late April and this is when the lambing starts. The island was full of new born lambs when we visited, so cute!
Utstein was one of Harald Fairhair’s royal seats after the victory at Hafrsfjord in 872 where he fought the last battle and found himself the first king of Norway. The monastery itself was built around 1260 and the monks living here was of the Augustinian order.
The church is special as the tower is located in the middle and splits the church in two. Our guide indicated this is more commonly seen in Scotland it is likely something monks from Scotland brought with them to Norway.
The monastery was uninhabited after the Reformation and put into ruins. Some 200 years later it was purchased by the Garmann family and fully renovated.
There is a fee to enter the monastery, but that includes a guided tour with a well informed guide. Fingers crossed you won’t meet the white lady…
Our second stop on Mosterøy was Fjøløy lighthouse and Fjøløy Fort. The fort opened for public access just a few years ago. It is a short drive away from Utstein monastery and there are several trails around the area that will give you different views of the lighthouse and inlets to several fjords in the region.