The Best Things to do in Dahab, Egypt: A Bohemian Diver’s Paradise

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When it comes to travel in Egypt we tend to think of the ancient history. The pyramids and the temples. Mummies and Nile cruises. Among the enchanting ruins is a splattering of chaos, especially when it comes to Cairo. Bazaars and souks will have vendors calling after you for your business as other locals promise to take you on a special guided tour. Egypt’s main attractions are awe-inspiring and magical and I loved my time exploring them. But I also found travel in Egypt to be exhausting. Until I went to Dahab.

View over Dahab

I heard about Dahab from a diver friend who told me to add it to my Egypt itineray when I visited in 2017. I followed his advice and spent a few quiet days in this sleepy seaside town that used to be a fishing village but had made a name for itself while diving. Dahab was quiet. It was chill and unassuming. It was the perfect way to end my Egypt trip and relax a bit before coming back to Canada.

Fast forward 5 years and I found myself in Dahab again. While living in Tel Aviv a friend and I headed down south to Eilat and hopped over to Egypt at the Taba border crossing for a few days of diving and ocean adventures. So much had changed and yet everything that I loved about Dahab had stayed the same. It was a perfect few days of sunshine and ocean and I can’t wait to go back. So, for anyone else planning a trip to Egypt or Sinai, here is my Dahab itinerary and suggestions for the best things to do in Dahab.

Is Dahab Safe?

Dahab street vendor at night

Dahab is located in the Sinai Peninsula which, for those familiar with world geography and world politics, is considered to be a hotspot for ISIS. Unfortunately, the Sinai Peninsula is listed on a lot of government travel websites as a no-go thanks to the threat posed by these terror groups. Now, nowhere in the world is ever safe and yes, Sinai has seen a number of attacks over the last number of years, but having been twice, I can only speak to my experiences and I have never felt unsafe in Dahab.

From the perspective of a female traveller, I really enjoyed Dahab. It’s not quite as strict or traditional as the rest of Egypt and while I am still very mindful that this is, in fact, a Muslim country I don’t feel out of place or awkward wearing shorts and t-shirt or tank top walking around or a bikini sitting on a sunbed at one of the beach restaurants. I have personally never been harassed or catcalled in Dahab either.

How to Get To Dahab

Most people who come to Dahab arrive via Sharm el-Sheikh which is the closest airport. From Sharm, it’s about a 1 hour drive. The best thing to do is arrange a taxi ahead of time, your accommodation can help you with this.

If you happen to be coming from Israel, as I did on my second visit, you can cross at the Taba border crossing. Note that depending on your passport, you may or may not need a visa if you are only travelling to the Sinai Peninsula. Be mindful that the border crossing can be very long and chaotic on long weekends and holidays as many Israelis like to go to Sinai as well. The best time to cross is midweek.

Please make sure to keep your passport accessible and handy at all times when driving through Sinai. There are a number of checkpoints and they may stop you and ask to see your ID and entry stamp.

*Note you will also likely need a Visa. You can get it online a couple weeks before your arrival. 

Getting around Dahab

Dahab is really small so you can easily just use your feet and walk around. If you like, some places will rent bikes that you can use to get around faster. Alternatively, if for some reason you can’t walk or cycle you can use a taxi. You won’t have any trouble finding one, everyone is taxi driver in Dahab and you will be asked over and over again if you need a driver. If you do choose to use a taxi agree on a rate beforehand. Also, many taxi drivers claim they know where it is where you are going when it comes to hotels, but that’s not always the case. Try to have a screenshot of a map handy or the phone number of where you want to go in case they get lost.

Where to Stay in Dahab

map of Dahab

Dahab is quite small but that being said, there are still some places that are better to stay than others. The boardwalk area is the most popular but places a little further in generally aren’t too far of a walk either. The busiest and most central areas tend to be in the little Bay where the Liquid Dive Adventures pin is in the photo above.

As for budget, Dahab is quite cheap. Keep in mind Dahab doesn’t really do ‘luxury’ but there are still some nice hotels with pools at very affordable rates. Try Red Sea and Relax, Casa d’Or Dahab, or Club Red Dahab

The Best Things to do in Dahab

So, what is there to see and do in Dahab? Quite a bit! Here are some of my favourite things to do in Dahab.

Scuba dive

Colourful fish

Dahab is a diving paradise. No matter your experience, there are dive site options for you. Even if you have never tried it, Dahab is a great place to give scuba diving a shot. The dives here are all shore dives and the visibility is usually fantastic with very little current. You won’t see many big things but the corals are pretty and there are lots of schools of brightly coloured fish. The water temperature hovers around 20-26C so you’ll likely want a wetsuit but conditions are great. My favourite dive sites are Canyon and Blue Hole.

Dive shop recommendations: Red Sea Tribe or Liquid Dive Adventures. As always, read reviews first!


Hannah Logan learning how to free dive in Dahab

Scuba diving isn’t the only type of diving done in Dahab, it’s also a big community for freedivers. During my second visit, I decided to get my AIDA 2 certification and I absolutely loved it. I used Dahab Freedivers with Mo as my instructor and had a fantastic experience. If you are an experienced freediver you can also come here for training sessions.

Wander the Boardwalk

4 guys walking along Dahab boardwalk

The boardwalk of Dahab is where you will find most of the action during the day and in the evening. The waterfront is lined with restaurants all vying for your business with the promise of fresh fish, cold drinks, and day beds perfect for sun tanning. There are also a bunch of dive shops and little quirky boutiques and shops full of all your typical artsy souvenirs from postcards and magnets to funky pants and bags.

Take a Photo in Front of Why Not

Hannah Logan standing in front of the Why Not? Shop in Dahab

Speaking of shops on the boardwalk, Why Not? Is a must-see. This iconic storefront is all over Instagram and while I do suggest taking a shot outside (even if it is a little overdone), you should go in as well. The owner creates all kinds of weird and wonderful décor using old junk. His creativity is unreal and I had a lot of fun browsing his wares.

The Blue Hole

One of the most famous spots in Dahab is the Blue Hole. Located just a few kilometres from the town, the Blue Hole is a favourite spot for freediving, scuba diving, and snorkeling. It’s located just off the shoreline and drops down into a deep abyss of over 100m making it a cool site to see. For the most part, if you behave responsibly, this is a safe place to enjoy and visit. Divers, please do be careful, respect your limits, and go with a guide. The Blue Hole is nicknamed “diver’s cemetery” and while there is no official count, it’s expected that over 130 people have died here in the last 15 or so years. Proofs of some of these deaths are commemorated in the grim markers on the shoreline with the names of those who have lost their lives here. Note there is a 10USD fee to enter the Blue Lagoon (if you are diving here, your shop will normally include it in your rates)

 The Blue Lagoon

The blue lagoon is a natural lagoon located in the desert with pretty aqua-coloured water. It’s become a popular day trip destination for swimmers and kite surfers. It’s a bit of a journey to get there so make sure you have plenty of time, but if you are looking for a chill beach day with great views, this is the spot to go.

Castle Zaman

Sunset over the pool at Castle Zaman, Egypt

Another great spot for a day trip is Castle Zaman. Located about an hour’s drive from Dahab this castle-like facility is built on top of a hill overlooking the Red Sea and across to Saudi Arabia. Reservations must be made in advance (45 euro per person as of 2023) and include a meal (you can choose when its served). Drinks such as water, juice, soft drinks, cocktails are all extra. There are changing rooms with freshwater showers and a beautiful turquoise pool area. The ground is natural, there are no chairs or tables, so make sure to bring a towel or sarong to lay on.

Desert Camping

If you are up for an adventurous thing to do in Dahab you can also head into the desert and go camping for a day or two. These desert camps are rustic but cool experiences with the local Bedouins and have fun desert jeep tours with incredible desert and mountain scenery. If you have ever wanted to sleep under the stars, this is the place to do it.

Some of these tours can be booked in advance online but can also be booked on arrival. Your accommodation can help you arrange tours and taxis or you can walk around the town area and ask at the shops along the boardwalk area. 



Where to Eat in Dahab

Smoothie Bowl in Dahab, Egypt

I was very surprised at the food and drink options in Dahab my second time around. My friend I was travelling with had some food intolerances but we had an easy time finding vegetarian and gluten-free options in several places. Some stand out places that we tried (or came highly recommended) include the following.

Zanooba Slow Cooked

This was our favourite spot. You need to reserve your table and choose your meal several hours early as the dishes here are slow-cooked for hours. You can pick from a variety of meat (or veggie options) and different sauces. We had squid in spicy tomato sauce and vegetables in lemon garlic sauce. We also tried the pink lemonade, which they make themselves, and it’s to die for. I highly recommend this restaurant in Dahab.

The Vegan Lab

Vegan and Vegetarians will like the Vegan Lab- a very instagrammable chic café known for the all-day breakfast and vegan spin on dishes. I’m not a vegan but did enjoy a few things here. My favourite was their mixed berry smoothie bowl and caramel popcorn latte (which has no coffee in it!). It’s worth noting that service here is incredibly slow so give yourself plenty of time.

Red Cat

Another good spot is the Russian Café called Red Cat. They have a bit of everything from meat dishes to salads and pizzas. Food quality is good and service is quick and friendly.

The German Bakery

If you are looking to grab a quick snack (or pastry) head to the German Bakery which has tons of options for all things sweet and carbs. Your best bet is to come early in the morning when they have the best selection.

Roots Kushary OR Kushary Station

If you have been to Egypt before you no doubt have had Kushary. It’s an Egyptian street food made up of rice, lentils, pasta, and a spicy tomato sauce. It’s a must-try if you haven’t had it. We were told that the best place to have it is Kushary Station for the classic version. If you are gluten-free then head to Roots Kushary (which is where we went). While it’s not ‘classic’ because it’s gluten-free it’s still a good and cheap meal.

Dai Pescatori

Last but not least is Dai Pescatori. It’s an Italian restaurant and known to be one of the best restaurants in Dahab with cute tables along the beach. There are some vegetarian and gluten free options as well. 

Final Tips for Dahab

Hannah drinking mango juice on a beach lounge chair in Dahab, Egypt

Dahab is a great destination and should absolutely be visited as part of your Egypt vacation or on its own for a short break, especially if you love diving. It’s gaining popularity as a hub for digital nomads although, in my experience, the internet can be very hit or miss (especially at cafes).

It is worth noting that water is not drinkable here, you need to buy it (a large bottle will cost about 5 lira, which is less than 30 cents USD). You can find alcohol in some places, but not everywhere.

Bring cash. Very few places accept credit cards. There are plenty of ATMs around but they charge 13% -15% fee which is ridiculous. Try to get Egyptian pounds before you come or bring USD or Euros that you can exchange at a decent rate.

Egypt is a Muslim country and while Dahab is more laid back and chill please respect that this culture covers up more than others. If you are looking for ideas on how to dress in Egypt read this post.

Again, I felt very safe as a female traveller there and would highly recommend Dahab based on my experiences. There are plenty of great things to do in Dahab to easily keep you busy for a few days.

A Note on Travel Insurance in Egypt

Please, do NOT travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to rely on mine multiple times. While the cost may seem annoying and better spent elsewhere, trust me when I say you’ll be sorry if you don’t have it. For just a couple bucks a day, you can save yourself a whole lot of stress and money. I like to recommend SafetyWing for travel medical insurance as they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found, plus, they are who I use and I have had great experiences with them. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here.


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