Travelers lucky enough to be in Copenhagen during the holiday season are in for a real Danish treat. They can get their gift shopping done without spending a king’s ransom in kroner and have a great time in the bargain.
First of all, shopping is incredibly easy. Although the exchange rate has catapulted the prices of many items for which Denmark is famous – silver, porcelain and hand-knit sweaters — into the luxury range, it’s still possible to find bargains – especially when comparing prices to those of North American specialty shops. Factory shops located in the Frederiksberg district of the city are good sources for these items.
Gifts with a Scandinavian FlairFor example, at Sweater Market (their stores are located in various parts of the city), you can buy specially priced hand-knit sweaters in Scandinavian designs for much less than they regularly cost. And, according to Copenhagen residents, the store almost always has sweaters on special. And although plates at Royal Copenhagen are expensive, items like crystal candle holders are much less costly. Illum Bolighus (on Copenhagen’s main shopping street called Stroget) is a great place to see Scandinavian design at its best – everything from Georg Jensen silver to plastic kitchen utensils made in Finland. As for glassware, the traditional gold-rimmed Tuborg glasses are for sale in gift shops along Stroget as well as at the brewery.
Stocking Stuffers and Lavish Gifts AboundSostrene Grenes (the Green Sisters), located right in the middle of Stroget across from Helligands Church, is crammed with import-store items, few of which are made in Scandinavia. There are fish-shaped plastic bookmarks, paper napkins with Danish designs, candles in every shade of the palette, brightly colored scarves and white cream pitchers shaped like cows. The two biggest department stores on Stroget, Illum and Magasin du Nord, carry gorgeous tablecloths and the down comforters called dyner. Though the latter are very expensive, they last a lifetime.
Shopping Like the Locals Brings RewardsSecond-hand stores, flea markets and gift shops at Tivoli — Copenhagen’s beloved amusement park can be shoppers’ treasure troves. Supermarkets also brim with low-cost treasures. Danish cheeses, strawberry marmalade, flat bread and jars of herring are only a few of the gourmet treats for sale. It’s also a good idea to check out the supermarkets’ home wares sections. Marvelously efficient cheese slicers, a device that’s called a parsley or mint grinder, Danish-designed serving dishes and tea towels are all good buys.
Bakeries Offer Sweet TreatsOther pre-Christmas Copenhagen pleasures are found in its bakery and confectionery store windows. Special holiday treats such as the deep-fried cookies called kleiner, vanilla rings, pebernodder (peppernuts) and ginger cookies taste just as good as they look. There are fat sugar cookies topped with shiny white frosting; pretzel-shaped raisin pastries called weinbrod, and custard-filled linse, too.
Danish store hours are generally 10 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Most stores, with the exception of flower shops, bakeries and souvenir shops, close on Sunday.