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Nestled 80km northeast of Sharm el Sheikh is somewhere just as beautiful, just as sun-drenched but a lot less busy: Dahab. We stayed in Dahab as part of a three week tour of Egypt and I’m so glad we did!
Read on to find out more about why you should book a holiday to this up and coming resort town in Egypt and why I absolutely recommend that you skip the usual package holiday in Sharm el Sheik and head over to Dahab instead!
Where is Dahab?
Dahab is a small town. It is located on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, and is thought to be one of the best diving destinations in the area. Split into three major parts (Masbat, Mashraba and Media), Dahab is steadily growing in popularity with tourists and travellers.
Getting to Dahab
Transport is perhaps one of the reasons that Dahab doesn’t have a big mark on the tourist map yet. For the seasoned traveller, Dahab is quite accessible. But unfortunately it doesn’t have the same tourist infrastructure that other parts of Egypt do.
The nearest airport to Dahab is Sharm el Sheikh (SSH). It takes one-two hours to drive from the airport to Dahab, depending on the road conditions. You will need to a taxi or a local bus. Transport and tour companies can be booked in advance to get you to Dahab, but do your research before booking as these have extremely mixed reviews.
Direct flights to Sharm el Sheikh from the UK are plentiful. All you need to do is take a low cost or a charter flight. I usually like to use Skyscanner to book all of my flights, however, charter flights don’t always come up when searching. So I recommend looking on the website of any tour operator who offers packages in Egypt, because they will obviously have flights! Try Thomas Cook, TUI and easyJet, to name a few.
Holidays to Dahab
There have been international hotels in Dahab since the late 80s, after the Sinai Peninsula was restored to Egyptian rule (having previously been occupied by Israel); the tourism of the area has only grown since then.
It is worth noting that when searching for package holidays to Dahab, you are best searching for trips to the ‘South Sinai Governorate’. Most holidays to Dahab fall under this location on holiday websites, which can be confusing at first. Try On the Beach or Icelolly.com for some bargain prices.
Package holidays to Dahab, however are not always easy to come by. This is because the resort isn’t as well developed and marketed as near by Sharm el Sheikh. But this is why it’s such a wonderful place to visit, right? Unspoilt, more culture, less tourists, more peace….
Hotels in Dahab
What I loved about Dahab was that all of the hotels were quiet and excellent value for money. We were spoilt for choice when choosing where to stay.
We opted to stay at the Tropitel Dahab Oasis. I loved this hotel. Its was right on the beach and had a beautiful pool. The staff were really attentive and there were only a handful of other tourists there- it was the middle of August so this was definitely a pleasant surprise!
The hotel has itsown dive centre! It offers double and triple rooms, free public parking, a 24h front desk and a children’s play area as well as stunning views. The hotel can be booked on an all-inclusive or half board basis. There food was nice and I took full advantage of the unlimited wine in the evenings!
Offering both dormitories and private rooms, Deep Blue Divers Hostel is a budget option that allows you to combine booking your accommodation and your diving. They offer everything from try dives to open water and advanced diving courses, as well as free WiFi and a shared kitchen within the hostel.
Golden Europe Hotel has a private beach, free WiFi, airport transfers and an outdoor terrace. Double, twin and triple rooms are available. In terms of location, there are plenty of amenities near this hotel: a supermarket, bars and restaurants as well as dive centres.
For a full list of available accommodation options on your travel dates use the map below.
Things to do in Dahab
There is so much to in Dahab regardless of what kind of holiday you’re looking for…
Scuba diving is the go-to activity in Dahab. With plenty of dive centres to choose from, you’ll be able to find something that suits your level of ability. From beginners to experts, everybody loves diving in the Red Sea and it’s not hard to see why!
The SS Thistlegorm is one of the world’s most famous shipwrecks. Most dive centres offer day trips to see her, as the wreckage lies fairly shallow making it an easier dive. If you’re not quite ready to try scuba diving, snorkelling here and in other parts of Dahab is easy, fun and rewarding.
Dahab is also popular with windsurfers. As there are around 300 windy days per year in the town, it is the ideal location for windsurfing and kitesurfing. There are some sheltered lagoons with large stretches of flat water – these are ideal for beginners. Those who are more advanced can head to places like Baby Bay and Napoleon Reef. Equipment can be rented in Dahab, and courses are available too for those wishing to learn the sport.
Read also: Visiting Bethlehem: A complete guide
Mount Sinai, at almost 7500ft fall, is somewhat of a pilgrimage location. It is said to be where Moses received the Ten Commandments; Christian, Jewish and Muslim pilgrims have climbed the mountain over the years. Most hikes begin at night time so that you reach the summit in time to see the impressive sunrise over Sinai.
We went quad bike riding during our stay in Dahab, which was great fun. We were able to gain lots of speed on the roads and were taken off-road too, which was very exciting!
More relaxed things to do
If you’re an animal lover, or just fancy something a bit less active than water sports or mountain climbing, consider a camel safari. These can last from a couple of hours up to 7 whole days, depending on what exactly you’re after. It’s a great way to see the desert!
Maybe camels aren’t your thing – luckily there are horse-riding tours available in Dahab. These take you along the beach or through the desert, and you can even combine it with an overnight stay at a traditional Bedouin camp.
There are also a number of day trips you can do from Dahab. Tours are available to visit St Catherine’s Monastery, The Coloured Canyon, Petra and more. With the Red Sea on your doorsteps, boat trips are a fantastic way to spend the day.
Of course, if you’re just looking for a bit of r&r, Dahab is a great place to come. The beaches are beautiful and quiet, the sun is usually shinning and you can just watch the ocean waves, sip a cocktail, go for a gentle swim and top up your tan all day long if you so desire!
With temperatures ranging from 18°C to 33°C, Dahab is fairly warm year-round. May-September are the warmest months, with December-January being the coolest months. February and December are the rainiest months, with 4 and 5mm of rainfall respectively – so not particularly wet!
There you have it – plenty of reasons why you should visit Dahab in Egypt!