The abbey, dedicated to Saint Laurence, was founded in its present location during the reign of King Magnus VI of Norway (1263–1280). It was a house of Augustinian Canons. It appears however that this community was the one previously established as St. Olav's Abbey, Stavanger, one of the earliest Augustinian monasteries in Norway if not the very earliest.
The exact date of its foundation is unknown, but it was well established by 1160.
At its height, up to 12 monks lived at Utstein, with twice as many lay people working on the building, doing the cooking, and doing the farming. The abbey owned extensive lands, and could feed about 250 people a year. It was dissolved in 1537 during the Reformation and was given in fee to Trond Ivarsson, a nobleman who served as local bailiff. It served as a private residence for many years. The property came under the control of the Garmann (1706) and Schancke (1885) families. In 1899, the estate was acquired by the state and restored as a museum.
Travel from Stavanger center take about 50 minutes by follow road E39 to Bergen. Abbey located on Klosterøy island. on the way to abbey you will pass Byfjord underwater tunnel 5875 meters length and 223 meters below the see level in lowest point. There are only 30 parking places near the abbey, but it is possible to park car little bit before and have a short walk. You can also stay in Utstein closter hotell or just have a dinner in hotell's restaurant.