Located 90km (56 miles) north of Sharm El Sheikh is the next major coastal settlement, Dahab. Sediments washed down from the mountains have created a broad sandy plain here. An Israeli-built town on a sandy cove, it has hotels, restaurants, camping and diving facilities and a reputation as the “Ibiza of Egypt”. It is world-renowned for its wind- and kite-surfing as reliable winds provide superb flat-water conditions inside Dahab’s sand spit. The scuba diving is also excellent thanks to the coral reefs just offshore, and there are several dive schools.
The best travel tips for visiting Dahab
Across the plain 2km (1.25 miles) to the west, the Bedu village of Assalah sits next to a palm-lined horseshoe bay. Here, low-budget travellers stay in reed huts on the beach, which is lined with informal cafés.
Nuweiba is 75km (45 miles) further north, a slightly superior resort, although cheap accommodation in beachside reed huts and relaxed alfresco cafés can be found in Tarabin to the north. There are wide sandy beaches, but the reefs here are not as good as further south.
Nuweiba functions primarily as a port for the daily passenger and car ferry to Aqaba in Jordan, which is operated by Jordanian company AB Maritime. The ferry allows travel between Egypt and Jordan without transiting through Israel.
The resorts and dive shops in Dahab organise day and overnight 4x4 and camel trekking trips into the hinterland. These trips are well worthwhile: many of the fertile wadis (valleys) are extremely beautiful and it’s a great opportunity to engage with the Bedu who will be your guides and hosts.
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Best things to do in Dahab, Egypt
Dahab is a laid-back beach town located on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt that's popular with travellers seeking relaxation, adventure, and culture. Here are the top five things to do in Dahab.
#1 Go snorkelling or diving at the Blue Hole
The Blue Hole is a world-renowned dive site located just north of Dahab. It is a 130-metre-deep underwater sinkhole that offers a unique diving experience. Snorkelers can also explore the shallower waters surrounding the hole and discover an abundance of marine life like anthias, angelfish, butterflyfish, and clownfish. Divers may also spot larger creatures such as hammerhead sharks
#2 Try kitesurfing at Dahab
Dahab is known as one of the best kitesurfing and windsurfing destinations in the world. The combination of the steady wind, warm waters, and flat conditions make it the perfect place to learn or improve your skills. The area has both a protected headland with direct entry to a lagoon which is ideal for beginners and some tougher open water for more experienced riders.
#3 Relax at the Beach
Lighthouse Beach and Laguna Beach are two stunning beaches located near the town of Dahab. Lighthouse Beach, located just a few minutes' walk from the town center, is a long stretch of golden sand that offers stunning views of the Red Sea. It's a great spot for swimming and sunbathing, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the beachfront where you can relax and enjoy the view.
Laguna Beach, located a short drive from Dahab, is a picturesque cove with crystal-clear water and a stunning coral reef. The beach is popular with snorkelers and divers, as the reef is home to an incredible array of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins. Laguna Beach is also a great spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing, with consistent winds blowing throughout the year.
#4 Exploring the Colored Canyon by camel
The Sinai Peninsula is home to some of the most stunning desert landscapes in the world. Visitors to Dahab can take a camel or jeep safari to explore the surrounding desert and mountains, including the famous Colored Canyon.
The canyon is made up of narrow, twisting passageways and towering sandstone walls, which have been shaped by thousands of years of erosion. What sets the Colored Canyon apart from other canyons is the vibrant range of colors on its walls, which appear to change depending on the angle of the sun.
Walking through the canyon, visitors will see an incredible display of natural hues and shades, from deep reds and oranges to bright yellows and greens. The canyon walls also reveal intricate patterns and shapes that have been sculpted over time by the forces of wind and water. The canyon is also home to unique desert vegetation, including acacia trees and desert roses.
#5 Be wowed by Ras Abu Galum
Ras Abu Galum is a remote and rugged coastal area located in the north of Dahab. Accessible only on foot, camel or by boat, it is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled natural reserves in the Sinai Peninsula. The area is home to a variety of rare flora and fauna, including coral reefs and several species of birds, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
One of the main draws of Ras Abu Galum is its stunning beaches. Visitors can relax on the soft white sand and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea. The area is also ideal for snorkelling and diving, with numerous reefs and underwater caves to explore. The coral reefs in the area are some of the best preserved in the world and home to a diverse range of marine life, including colourful fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins.
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Best areas to stay in Dahab
Most of the accommodations in Dahab are located along the coast. Here are some of the best areas to stay.
A popular area for budget travelers and backpackers, Mashraba offers a range of affordable accommodations and easy access to Mashraba Beach.
The main commercial area of Dahab has a bustling market, plenty of restaurants plus a variety of accommodations to suit different budgets.
This is a quieter area of Dahab, popular with families and couples who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere. It has a number of upscale resorts and hotels, as well as a few budget-friendly options.
Another area popular with budget travelers, Assalah has a range of budget-friendly guesthouses and backpacker hostels. It is also located near some of the best dive sites in Dahab.
Browse the best hotels in Dahab.
Best restaurants and bars
Dahab's main promenade and Mashraba are the best areas for restaurants and bars, though the town has places to eat further out as well.
Located at the northern end of Dahab, the streets around Lighthouse Beach have a wide variety of bars and restaurants, serving everything from Egyptian cuisine to international fare.
This lively area running along the seafront in Dahab has a range of bars and restaurants, many of which have sublime views out across the water.
This area on the northern end of Dahab has a range of places to eat including pizzerias, bakeries and Egyptian restaurants.
How to get around
Dahab is a small town, and you can easily get around on foot. But there are a number of other ways to navigate it too.
Taxis are a convenient and affordable way to get around Dahab. Always use the meter.
Bikes are a popular mode of transportation in Dahab, and many shops rent them out by the day or week. They are a great way to explore the town.
There is a local bus service that runs between Dahab and other cities in the area, including Sharm El Sheikh and Nuweiba. Buses are generally cheap and comfortable.
What is the best time to visit Dahab?
The best time to visit Dahab, Egypt is during the winter months, from November to February. During this time, the temperatures are comfortable, ranging from 20-25°C (68-77°F), and the weather is sunny and dry.
Visiting Dahab during the summer months (June to August) can be very hot, with temperatures often exceeding 35°C (95°F), and it can be uncomfortable to engage in outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day. Additionally, the summer months are also the peak tourist season in Egypt, which can make the area more crowded and expensive.
If you are interested in watersports like diving or snorkelling, the best time to visit Dahab is during the months of April and May or September and October, when the water is warm and clear, and the weather is still pleasant.
Find out more about the best time to visit Egypt.
How many days do you need in Dahab?
If you are interested in diving, Dahab has some of the best diving sites in the world, so you might want to spend at least 4-5 days exploring the underwater world.
To explore the desert fully, you might want to spend 2-3 days exploring the nearby canyons, mountains, and oases. If you are interested in relaxing and soaking up the sun, you could spend 3-4 days enjoying the beaches and the laid-back atmosphere.
Overall, It is recommended to spend at least 5-7 days in Dahab to fully experience all the different activities and attractions the area has to offer.
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How to get here
The best way to get to Dahab is by bus or private car. Local taxis are no longer allowed to operate outside the town for security reasons.
Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport is the nearest airport to Dahab, around an hour's drive from Dahab. Travellers will need to take a bus to reach the town.
There are regular bus services from Cairo and other major cities in Egypt to Dahab. Note that the bus station is located southwest of the city and will travellers will require a taxi into town.
If you are driving from Cairo, take the Suez Road and then the Sharm El-Sheikh Road until you reach Dahab. It's a scenic drive that takes around 6-7 hours.
You can take a ferry from Aqaba in Jordan to Nuweiba, which is about an hour's drive from Dahab.
Find out the best ways to get to Egypt.