Formerly a quiet Bedouin fishing village in the Red Sea, Dahab has become one of Egypt's top diving destinations. Its underwater landscapes teem with life, and most diving sites are accessible from the shore without a boat – making it perfect for swimmers and snorkellers too. It's sunny virtually all year round, and the town's bohemian atmosphere attracts independent travellers and footloose remote workers alike. Goats roam free around the town and camels pass by to the Sinai Desert mountains beyond.
Dahab hostels range from boutique rooms next to the ocean, to family-run Bedouin accommodation, a beach camp or a hostel in the desert. You'll usually find either ceiling fans or air con to keep you cool, and most hostels have free Wi-Fi too. A few also have an outdoor swimming pool, or an arisha (traditional shaded resting place) where you can relax. Some hostels in Dahab have luxurious touches such as a beachside restaurant, bar or gym. Dahab hostel staff can help you arrange activities and trips like kitesurfing and quad-bike tours of the mountains and canyons.
The busiest part of Dahab is the Lighthouse area, where you'll find cafés, restaurants and tour operators. To the north is Masbat, with its Bedouin village, Asalah. To the south, Mashraba is home to numerous places to stay and a long sandy beach. A little way back from the beach is Medina, a quieter, mostly residential neighbourhood with water sports in its Laguna Village. Other areas to explore include the Wadi Gnai oasis, a small patch of lush greenery and flowers set in the rocky desert.
Attractions in Dahab include the spectacular Blue Hole, a sinkhole over 100 metres deep, which is popular with experienced divers. Snorkel at beaches by the lighthouse, explore the reefs and wildlife of the Eel Garden, or dive down to the Underwater Museum, where sculptures tell the story of ancient Egypt. Hike up to St Catherine's Monastery for sunrise views over the sierra and climb Mount Sinai's majestic peaks. Or get the adrenaline pumping with sand-boarding down desert dunes and kitesurfing at the Blue Lagoon.
The easiest way to get to Dahab from Sharm el Sheikh International Airport is by taxi (around 1 hour and 20 minutes' drive). Otherwise, you can catch a bus, which takes around 1.5 hours (you'll need to get a taxi to the bus station first). Alternatively, a long-distance bus from Cairo is a 10-hour journey. You can explore Dahab itself on foot or by taxi.