The city of Stavanger is a charming blend of old and new with oil activities playing a leading role. Of the approximately 6,500 foreigners living here, about 4,000 of them are connected with the oil industry. Until 1992, travel to Mosterøy Island was only by boat but today, the island is accessible via an underwater tunnel which is close to 3 miles long and goes down to a depth of nearly 700 ft.
Departing the pier, you will first drive towards to Mosterøy Island via the Rennfast road system, a prime example of Norwegian engineering. The highway passes through the Byfjord Tunnel, the world's second-longest and deepest undersea automobile tunnel.
Upon arrival on Mosterøy Island, you will pay a visit to one of the country's finest medieval monuments, the splendid Utstein Monastery. Around 800 A.D., it served as one of the royal estates of King Harald Fairhair, the first king to claim sovereignty over all of Norway. In the 13th century, Utstein became the royal residence of King Magnus Law-Mender, and subsequently evolved into a Danish-style Country Manor by the middle of the 18th century. Today, the Utstein Monastery hosts various types of gatherings and performances, including classical and jazz concerts in the chapel. During your guided tour of this historic property, you will find a wealth of exquisite detailing in the Altarpiece, Baptismal Font, narrow tower stairs and peaceful, tree-filled gardens. The guided tour will end in the chapel with a short musical recital for your enjoyment.
Re-boarding your coach, you will travel back to Stavanger. Along the way, a stop will be made in the charming residential area of the city to see the late 17th and early 18th century wooden houses tucked away in narrow lanes. At this point, you may opt to continue on for the remainder of the drive to the pier, or disembark the coach and join your guide for brief walking tour past the white houses en route to the ship.
Please note: This tour includes a moderate amount of walking; some of it over uneven and cobblestone surfaces and there are some steps to negotiate at the Monastery. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Flat, comfortable walking shoes and a sweater or jacket are suggested. The transportation is not air-conditioned.