The best streets for shopping are the pedestrian thoroughfares Algade and Skomagergade. Of these, we find that Skomagergade has the best shops. From the 12th century, its name, which literally means "shoemaker street," was where the cobblers of Roskilde plied their trade in the Middle Ages.
At either end of the street, a triskelion within a circle has been placed in the pavement. The symbol is three curved lines radiating from the center. It comes from the coins struck in Roskilde from 1018 to 1047. Today this silver coin has been re-created by one of the goldsmiths of Roskilde and is sold as a piece of jewelry at the tourist office.
The best time for shoppers to be in Roskilde is for the market days every Wednesday and Saturday morning (go after 8am). Fresh fruit and vegetables of the season are sold from stalls on Stændertorvet, the main square by the cathedral, along with many stalls hawking fresh fish and Danish cheese. You can purchase the makings of a picnic, along with beautiful pieces of jewelry, and even mugs and pottery. Vendors also peddle a number of well-made children's clothes.
Roskilde also abounds in specialty shops, notably Bydr. Lützhøfts, Købmandsgård, Ringstedgade 6-8 (tel. 46-35-00-61), a cozy old grocer's shop selling herring and other delicacies across the counter. The interior of the shop looks as it did during the 1920s, and goods for sale are typical of that era. The building at Ringstedgade 8 is a butcher's shop, Slagterbutikken O. Lunds, selling goods made according to recipes from about 1920. You can also explore the merchant's yard with 18th- and 19th-century buildings. Sometimes exhibitions are staged here -- for example, depictions of merchants and trade in Roskilde over the past 1,000 years. This shop is open Monday to Friday 11am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm. Even if you don't purchase anything, this is one of the town's tourist attractions.
The town also has very excellent buys in handicrafts. Head first for Glasgallerjet, Skt. Ibs Vej 12 (tel. 46-35-65-36), a former gasworks near the harbor that now houses the open workshop of a glass blower. Here, the glass blower, who displays marvelous skill, shapes the most beautiful glasses, dishes, vases, and other items. Spectators are able to watch the transformation of a lump of melted glass into a beautiful Danish handicraft on sale at the gallery.
An unusual selection of crafts is found at Jeppe, Skomagergade 33 (tel. 46-36-94-35), which is run collectively by 20 craftspeople from Roskilde and its environs. They make and sell their own crafts. These are definitely nonfactory goods, and exhibitions are always changing.