The best stores in Copenhagen for quality souvenirs and keepsakes

Despite the vast array of stores, it can be hard to find small, take home gifts in Copenhagen, especially if one is on a tight budget. Department stores Magasin and Illum are among the largest in Scandinavia and are a pleasure to shop in, with excellent service and a wide range under one roof; while the flagship stores of Georg Jensen and Royal Copenhagen emphasize the timeless sense of style and quality--not to mention prices--associated with Danish products the world over.

Remember that souvenirs don't need to reference mermaids, trolls or Vikings; Danish design is so nifty it seems to be never out of fashion and is well-represented in high-end as well as budget-oriented stores in Copenhagen. Another great gift idea is to celebrate Copenhagen's culinary reputation with a little jar of something from gourmet market Torvehallerne København.

For more thrifty shoppers, we advise taking a wander off the main drag, Strøget, and into the side streets: south, towards the canals and the excellent taste of shop owner and collector of all things delectable Susan Liebe, or north towards Nørreport and stores such as Notre Dame and Maduro. Alternatively, you could forget about shopping and grab some inspiration at Designmuseum Danmark; which also happens to have a great little shop filled with some highly affordable copies.


A Viking helmet, a T-shirt emblazoned with 'I love Copenhagen', or a snow globe replica of The Little Mermaid possibly isn't what you really wanted to remind you of your weekend break in Copenhagen, but at the Viking Gave (Gift) Shop on walking street Strøget, that's what Copenhagen souvenirs are made of. The store sells postcards, city guides (lots of languages catered for), and cheap souvenirs like key rings, mugs and bottle openers. It's all good-humored if not exactly classy, and one of the last of Copenhagen's original souvenir stores remaining in the city.

Recommended for Gift Shops because: Most visitors pass buy the Viking Gave Shop on Strøget, which has been on the premises for decades.

Jane's expert tip: Closed on Sundays and late Saturday afternoons.

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Designer Zoo
Photo courtesy of Morten Bjarnhof

Part shop, part gallery, Designer Zoo in the hip, urban Vesterbro district is a melting pot of eight young designers and their collective creative vision. It's a great place to see some examples of the very latest Danish design ideas and take a little bit of it home with you - at prices you can actually afford. The eight inhouse designers work in a range of media including furniture, jewelry, knitwear and glass, and the store also sells a range of other design items - the criteria being that it's all 100 percent Danish design. Designer Zoo spans two floors - one for the store and one design workshops, where the designers can exhibit their latest creations. These include ceramics, jewelry and glass. Closed Sundays.

Recommended for Gift Shops because: Designer Zoo is a showcase for up-and-coming and original Danish designers.

Jane's expert tip: Check out the public studio space on the first floor.

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Notre Dame
Photo courtesy of Notre Dame

In a very central location next to Copenhagen's Cathedral Vor Frue Kirke and just a short walk from Nørreport Station, Notre Dame has a great selection to suit most budgets, and while not quite as bargain-conscious as Tiger, is packed with similar Christmas stocking fillers, impulse buys and brightly-colored homewares. Notre Dame offers Nordic design for the price-conscious - in kitchenware, textiles, fun and practical storage solutions and even little toys. The shop is arranged like a market, where you can fill up your basket to be rung up without fuss at the till, and accepts most international credit cards.

Recommended for Gift Shops because: When it comes to the cheaper end of gift shopping, Notre Dame has a good range of budget-priced items.

Jane's expert tip: Be careful with breakables while traveling.

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Georg Jensen
Photo courtesy of Cees van Roeden

The Georg Jensen brand has been synonymous with expensive Scandinavian design and quality craftsmanship for more than a century. What started as a small store to showcase the designs of a talented silversmith is today a brand of exclusive lifestyle products that includes ornaments for the home, jewelry and watches. Along the same drag as another world-famous Danish brand, Royal Copenhagen, Georg Jensen's flagship store may be a little out of your budget, but worth taking a peek as an example of Danish design at its best and most luxurious.

Recommended for Gift Shops because: Georg Jensen's flagship store fuses Danish tradition with expensive, quality silverware: it doesn't get better than this.

Jane's expert tip: Don't miss the small museum annex exhibiting some of Jensen's early pieces.

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Nansensgade Quarter
Photo courtesy of Maduro

In premises west of Nørreport Station toward Dronning Louises Bridge and Nørrebro, Maduro is packed with knick knacks, handicrafts, homeware and children's toys of originality and quality. With no connection to Venezuelan politics, the store is named after the owner's great-great grandmother and has a lot to tempt those fond of the cute, colorful, or playful, who can expect to be courted by a riot of pastel shades and primary tones, soft as well as coarse fabrics and bold, geometric designs. While the kids' section is great, gifts on offer here are certainly not limited to those with young families.

Recommended for Gift Shops because: Maduro is a great, cheap find for a downtown store in Copenhagen and offers some qualify gift ideas at reasonable costs.

Jane's expert tip: Maduro is just around the corner from Kong Arthur and Ibsens Hotel.

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Photo courtesy of Susan Liebe

An extremely cute, very Nordic homewares boutique crammed with original-looking homewares, things for the children's room, bags and jewelry. From quirky butter dishes, cups and other porcelain items to the craziest-looking knitted animals, Liebe is full of things you didn't even know you needed, all in a wonderfully Scandinavian pastel shade of pink, blue or grey. Found in a basement on great shopping street Kompagnistraede (between Strøget and the Gammel Strand canal), this little store run by Susan Liebe is a great place to pick up small, unusual souvenirs and gifts at reasonable prices.

Recommended for Gift Shops because: Liebe is one of those small, original stores that makes it worth wandering off the walking street for.

Jane's expert tip: There are some great cafes nearby.

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Designmuseum Danmark, shop
Photo courtesy of Designmuseum Danmark

The store of Designmuseum Danmark, located in a beautiful old former hospital building on Bredgade, is a great place to find small-scale design objects and rather more original gifts to take home than can be found in the more tacky downtown souvenir stores. Free to browse, the store is open every day except Monday and offers a wide range of ceramics, glass, textiles, jewelry and kitchen design objects, some of them miniature copies of design classics. In addition, there is a great assortment of books on crafts and design as well as postcards and small prints. The museum also has a cafe.

Recommended for Gift Shops because: Finding good quality souvenirs in Copenhagen can be tricky, but museum shops like the one at the Design Museum are excellent places to start.

Jane's expert tip: Both museum and shop are open until 9pm on Wednesdays.

Read more about Designmuseum Danmark, shop →

Royal Copenhagen

The flagship store of the world-famous Danish kitchenware design house is worth a visit even if you're merely window shopping, and includes a small museum floor following some of the most influential of the royal blue porcelain designs. Considered by many to be the most famous porcelain in the world, Royal Copenhagen still hand paint their trademark blue fluted cups, plates and bowls much like when the firm started back in 1775. The most expensive line, Flora Danica, is - literally - fit for a queen and will set you back at least DKK 5,000, but with at least 135 more lines, you might just find something in your price range. In the run-up to Christmas, the store is decked out with the traditional tables set creatively by local artists and designers.

Recommended for Gift Shops because: Royal Copenhagen's flagship store is synonymous with luxury and tradition.

Jane's expert tip: Round off your visit with refreshments in The Royal Cafe.

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Photo courtesy of Bernard Goldbach

Located centrally on pedestrianized �stergade, Illum is a classic department store that - with Magasin du Nord - a Copenhagen landmark that dates from the end of the 19th-century. Everything here is wonderfully arranged and can be packed just as impeccably for you upon request (without rushing, even in December). Illum's many floors contain stylish Scandinavian brand names in menswear and women's clothing as well as designer outfits for kids, a ground floor cafe and bakery, Denmark's only branch of London toy shop Hamley's on the fourth floor and, right at the top, stylish cafe-restaurant Spisebaren.

Recommended for Gift Shops because: Illum is a classic department store with almost all types of gifts available over multiple stories.

Jane's expert tip: Find homeware and Danish design in next door Illums Bolighus on Amagertorv.

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Magasin Du Nord
Photo courtesy of Jimg

This historic department store is the oldest (and largest) in Scandinavia and sits grandly on Kongens Nytorv square. Established in 1890, Magasin du Nord was previously Hotel du Nord - writer H.C. Andersen once rented a couple of tiny attic rooms. You can find everything in here, from Danish brand names in womenswear, menswear and even kidswear, to a lavish perfume and cosmetics area and a vast array of stylish Danish design and souvenirs. The basement level food and wine department rivals Harrods of London for its range and quality, and Magasin's own brand of chocolate is handmade at the store's own factory. If you're feeling like a refreshments break, there are several options: Organic meals to go or eat in from Meyers Deli and Meyers Bakery in the basement (there's also an entrance from Kongens Nytorv Metro station) or the casual, canteen style seating of the top floor restaurant - plenty of room for strollers makes this popular with families.

Recommended for Gift Shops because: Magasin is a Copenhagen landmark: a place known and trusted for quality and luxury.

Jane's expert tip: Customers with an address outside the EU are entitled to a 10 percent tax rebate on goods.

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Meet Jane Graham

After touring most of Europe in her twenties, Jane was charmed by Copenhagen's relaxed tempo and moved there from her native northern England in 1999. Four young children at home has meant...  More About Jane