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Købmagergade - The Main Attraction

Købmagergade has a fascinating mix of shops and historic buildings. Ana Finel Honigman takes a tour

City Guide
Ana Finel Honigman,

Dominating the skyline is the Rundetårn (round tower), an incredible edifice built in the 1700s as an observatory that is now used by amateur astronomers and by others who wish to explore the skies. The tower, while spiralling to the sky, contains no stairs; the internal floor slants upwards instead, towards a breathtaking panoramic view.

Shop in style
The majestic Illum department store is one of the highlights of Copenhagen's shopping experience. Located at the tip of Købmagergade on Østergade, the palatial building dominates an entire block in the city’s centre.  Inside the imposing building, which opened its doors in 1891, are today’s leading international and local luxury brands such as Acne, Paul Smith, Armani, Margit Brandt, S'Nob de Noblesse and Won Hundred. The store also has a Sephora outlet, beautiful florists and an artisan bakery, an ideal place in which to sample the country’s renowned Danish pastries.

Fine china
Close by is one of Denmark’s longest-standing companies and one which is world renowned. Founded in 1775, the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory was set up on the premises of a former inn. It is a main attraction in the city and is now known simply as Royal Copenhagen. This luxury brand produces elegant porcelain, including dinnerware, special editions and Christmas items. Look out for Royal Copenhagen’s depiction of scenes from classic fairy tales, such as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. The distinctive logo of three waves, symbolising Denmark’s three significant inland waters, is  a mark of a very high standard of craftsmanship.

Pretty in pink
Further along the street, homeware enthusiasts can revel in the prettiness of Lisbeth Dahl’s store. The kitchenware, bath products, jewellery and toys come in candy colours and in the most exquisite packaging. Princess picture mirrors, pastel replica birdcages and sweetly painted jewellery boxes make ideal presents.

Chic designs
Købmagergade also caters for fans of Danish fashion design. Soaked in Luxury is perfect for shoppers who are looking for uncomplicated chic.  The collection includes streamlined sailor trousers, lightly printed cocktail dresses and delicate, feminine blouses. The signature designs are simple, sleek and classic while the leatherwear is artfully detailed and sensually soft.

Eye-catching colours
Alternatively, for a blast of unashamed pop-bright colour, head to Plint. Sweden has IKEA but Denmark’s cheerful homeware hub bursts with unconventional charm. Zinging lemons, bubblegum pinks and vibrant cherry tones dominate the homeware items, accessories and retro-chic toys. There’s even a selection of fine foods, although in a more natural colour palette, such as infused olive oils, nougat, sea salt and jams.

A true taste of Denmark
Paradis near Indre By, a square full of beautiful flower stalls, serves outstanding ice cream which is made freshly each day. Thor Thorøe started Paradis in 2000 and now has 36 stores throughout Denmark. Paradis uses only fresh, seasonal and local ingredients and is the perfect place for a break on Købmagergade.



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