Los Realejos boasts one of Tenerife's top take-off points for paragliding: the La Corona lookout point. And you will find plenty more treasures here. From the lush greenery of Rambla de Castro to the beach of El Socorro, as well as lovely buildings such as the Apóstol Santiago mother church.
The municipality of Los Realejos is located in northern Tenerife, 41 km (25.5 miles) away from the capital, Santa Cruz. It covers an area of 57.5 km2 (22.2 sq miles) and is home to 38,000 inhabitants. Its name, meaning the encampment, comes from the time when it was used as a military camp by the conquistadors and the Guanches during the last stages of the conquest of Tenerife. The countryside in Los Realejos is known to have some of the most wonderful landscapes on the Island, with almost half of its land being protected by regional, national, European or global environmental regulations. This is one of the best preserved regions in Tenerife and is full of great places to relax and action-packed opportunities for intrepid adventurers. Among its natural treasures are Mount Teide National Park, Corona Forestal Natural Park, the Protected Landscapes of Los Campeches, Tigaiga and Ruiz and Rambla de Castro, the Natural Monument of Montaña de los Frailes and the Barranco Ruiz Site of Scientific Interest. This great variety of ecosystems provides an array of options for lovers of the great outdoors.
Los Realejos has been shaped by a splendorous past, leaving it with a wealth of historic-artistic heritage as a result of its financial prosperity, the number of tradesmen who settled here and the work of the religious orders and the Church. Nowadays, it is still home to highly significant architectural relics, including both religious and civil buildings. Prominent among these gems are the churches of Santiago Apóstol (1496), Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (1512) and other smaller churches and chapels from the 16th and 17th century. The vast estates dotted all over the countryside with their grand houses show wonderful examples of typically Canarian country constructions.
The coast of Los Realajos features the beaches of El Socorro, a popular scene for surfers; Los Roques, Castro and La Fajana, to name just a few. Los Realejos is particularly appealing for paragliders, who soar over its landscapes from the peaks all the way down to the coast, gaining a bird's-eye-view of the whole region. The lookout points you will find all around the area afford breathtaking views of the ravines and hillsides, and all over the north of the Island.
In gastronomical terms, Los Realejos is known for having its own type of potatoes: the Papas Bonitas designation of origin, with 29 different varieties. Other popular delights are its black pork and white wines, which are the result of an elaborate craft process that is unique in the world: "cordón múltiple trenzado", a technique that local wine-makers have been using for centuries to produce very special wines.
Its festive celebrations also deserve their own mention. Los Realejos is famous among Spain's towns for the incredible number of festive events that take place here throughout the year, almost one hundred, many of which arose from the collective enthusiasm of its inhabitants, whilst others have withstood the passage of time over as long as four centuries.
For the locals, the festive cycle starts with the new year. The calendar marks long-standing cultural events such as adorning crosses with flowers on 3 May, the fruit arch in memory of San Pedro, the procession of the port's sailors in honour of Virgen del Carmen, and the respectful Holy Week.
Routes around the municipalityThere are several trails around the municipality of Los Realejos leading visitors to explore its history, landscapes and traditions. One of the most striking walks has been named Bursts of Tradition (Estallidos de tradición) and guides hikers to the place where the conquest of Tenerife finally concluded, offering detailed insight into the culture of Los Realejos.
- Plaza Viera y Clavijo.
- The Mother Church of Apóstol Santiago
- The Chapel of Calle de El Medio.
- The Chapel of Calle de El Sol.
- The outdoor shopping area of Realejo Alto.
- The dragon tree of San Francisco.
- The El Lance lookout point.
- The outdoor shopping area of Icod el Alto.
- The museum of Los Alzados.
- Papa Bonita potato crops.
- The La Corona lookout point.
The trail named “Azúcar y sal” (Sugar and Salt) invites visitors to explore the colonial past of Los Realejos on a journey around its most important rural estates which were devoted to growing sugar cane, and to the chapels and churches that have shaped the municipality's history. Two key elements in completing the essence of the trail are the views of the Atlantic from the coast and the greenery of the Ruiz ravine.
- Plaza de San Agustín.
- The Church of Nuestra Señora del Carmen.
- The outdoor shopping area of San Agustín.
- The Mother Church of Nuestra Señora de La Concepción.
- The Historic Site of Realejo Bajo.
- The estate of Hacienda de Los Príncipes.
- The Church of Nuestra Señora de La Concepción, Tigaiga.
- The Chapel of San Vicente Mártir.
- The natural swimming pools of Guindaste.
- The beach of El Socorro.
- The Ruiz Ravine Site of Scientific Interest
The romantic trail named “Aromas del Paraíso” (Heavenly Aromas) journeys through the stunning landscapes of Rambla de Castro, enabling visitors to understand why the coast of Los Realejos has inspired so many artists and travellers. The ruins of the old water lifting station of Gordejuela, the palm forests and the white walled houses of its lovely hamlets sprinkled with flowers are just some of the unforgettable wonders you will find here.
- Plaza del Toscal Longuera
- The Church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
- The outdoor shopping area of Toscal Longuera
- The Protected Nature Area of Rambla de Castro
- Los Roques Beach
- The old water lifting station of Gordejuela
- La Fajana Beach
- The small fortress of San Fernando
- Castro Beach
- The estate of Hacienda de Castro
- The San Pedro lookout point
Wine-making is a tradition in Los Realejos, and that is clear to see on the “Paisajes trenzados” (Braided Landscapes) trail, which illustrates the connection between the area's volcanic soils, pleasant climate and delicious white wines. The route leads visitors to Cruz Santa, past the vineyards grown using the "cordón trenzado" technique, across farm estates to the Natural Monument of Montaña de los Frailes, as well as other lovely corners in the municipality.
- Plaza de la Cruz Santa.
- The Church of La Santa Cruz.
- The Cruz Santa Casino.
- The outdoor shopping area of La Cruz Santa.
- The "cordón trenzado" vineyards.
- The Natural Monument of Montaña de los Frailes.
- The Restaurant-Tavern of El Monasterio.
- The estate of Hacienda de Poggio.
- The estate of Hacienda de San Ildefonso – Las Canales – Jardines de Castro.
- The recreational area of La Higuerita.
- The castle of El Conde Orea.
The route named “Acariciando las nubes” (The Clouds at your Fingertips) traces the paths that link Los Realejos to Mount Teide National Park. The route can be taken by bicycle, on foot or on horse-back and is perfect for visitors who have a true passion for the environment and rural tourism.
- Plaza de Palo Blanco
- The Church of Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores
- The old chapel of Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores
- The house of Casa de Palo Blanco
- The hamlet in La Hoya de Pablo
- The water distribution system of Pasada de la Carreta
- The recreational area of Chanajiga
- Corona Forestal Natural Park
- The blanket of cloud
- The Emilio Fernández Muñoz Nature Activity Centre
- Mount Teide National Park
Approved trails in the municipality
There are a number of approved hiking trails that set off from Realejo Alto which are not considered suitable for beginners as the level of difficulty is intermediate-high. One of these routes is the PR-TF 40 Ladera de Tigaiga, which proves difficult because of the steep climb and the risk of falling rocks, so it is advisable to take a short cut along the PR-FT 40.1 if in any doubt. The route sets off from the Church of Santiago Apóstol and follows the trail of La Lora. This stretch of the walk allows hikers to take in the lovely scenery of the Monteverde and the lush greenery of Til de Los Pavos before reaching the recreational area of Chanajiga. The route continues through the dense vegetation along the El Guarda path to the El Asomadero lookout point, then back to the ravine of La Lora.
There is another route known as PR-TF 40.1 Camino Punta del Risco, which is less challenging and follows some of the same stretches until it reaches Chanajiga. It then climbs gently up to Punta del Risco. Along the way, hikers on any of these routes will enjoy panoramic views and the chance to see some of the flora and fauna inhabiting the peaks of Los Realejos.
Another route is known as Sendero del Agua (the Water Trail), which sets off from beside Hotel Maritim and ventures through the countryside to some of the area's old watercourses and springs. It journeys along the cliffs of Playa de los Roques, revealing botanical species such as sea parsley, tabaibas, Canary Island Tamarisk and various crops. After crossing the residential estates of Romántica II and Romántica I, a magnificent view opens up before the hiker's eyes over the beach of La Fajana and the water lifting system of Gordejuela. The route ends at Rambla de Castro, where visitors can take a close look at two highly significant constructions: the farm estate of Hacienda de Castro and the small fortress of San Fernando.
For keen trekkers, Route 0-4-0 is one of the most challenging hikes in Spain. This is the trek with the highest altitude range in the country, starting by the sea and climbing all the way up to the peak of Mount Teide at 3,718 m (12,198 ft), before heading back down to the beach of El Socorro. A great deal of sportsmen travel to Los Realejos just for the pleasure and personal satisfaction of facing the Route 0-4-0 challenge.