Halfway up the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, Dahab is closer to Saudi Arabia than any other Egyptian settlement of significant size. Wedged between the Gulf of Aqaba (a stretch of the Red Sea) and the stark Sinai mountains, Dahab is a little oasis of charm, solitude, and restfulness. A perfect getaway for those in search of more than one “ahhh” moment.
The whole point of going to Dahab is to get away from it all. Unique is its hippy-Arab vibe, which you probably won’t experience anywhere else. If you’re here to rush around, the place won’t be rewarding. But snooze on the beach with the mountains at your back, or enjoy a fresh smoothie at an outdoor cafe with volumes of Shakespeare in half a dozen languages, and you’re golden. Take advantage of the cheap food and lodging. Unlike resorts like Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab isn’t built up or ruined by giant all-inclusive condos. It has retained its small size, offering up many family-run hostels, and a je ne sais quoi atmosphere.
Though relax is the rule, people come to Dahab for the incredible scuba diving. A dozen PADI-certified outfits offer all sorts of courses and packages. Head to Octopus World Dive Center for a great time in the water. You’ll wade right in and be face-to-face with turtles and angel fish within five minutes. You’ll definitely want to check out the Blue Hole, too, a stunning natural wonder, though not for the faint of heart.
Dahab is also a great base to explore this beautiful corner of the world. Aside from diving, small outfitters on-site will take you to ancient Saint Catherine’s Monastery, deep in the Sinai. Don’t miss the sunrise. And, surprisingly, Jerusalem and Wadi Rum in Jordan can be day trips, too. Though you can easily get to Dahab for a weekend from Cairo, spending more than a few days is worth it to completely unwind. The views will never get old. And so far from anything and everything, this is truly a place to leave your worldly problems behind.