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Unspoilt culture: Originally a Bedouin village, Dahab holidays have managed to retain the unspoilt natural charm which has been attracting hippies and travellers here for years. Thankfully Dahab has been modernised to an extent though, so you can still enjoy good facilities and a few all inclusive hotels if you like to have holidays with home comforts.
Diving holidays: One of the main reasons why holidays to Dahab have increased in popularity over recent years is due to the quality of the dive sites here. There are many famous dive sites in Dahab including Eel Garden, the Blue Hole (for experienced divers only) and The Lighthouse. Under the sea there’s an incredibly rich and diverse array of aquatic life, where you can expect to spot turtles, octopuses, and all kinds of colourful corals and fish.
Near to famous sites: Dahab holidays are some of the closest in Egypt to Mount Sinai and St. Catherine’s Monastery. These impressive sites have a long and illustrious history, with Mount Sinai being documented in the bible and St. Catherine’s Monastery dating back to 527AD.
Attractions in Dahab
St. Catherine’s Monastery: This ancient monastery is one of the earliest Christian buildings still in use today. It’s around 35km away from Dahab, so it’s quite possible to arrange a short coach trip there to appreciate some truly unforgettable sights. This impressive old monastery is actually at the foot of Mount Sinai, and was built in 527AD. The site incorporates some famous artefacts from the Christian religion, including the Burning Bush and the Holy Testament of Mohammed. The interior itself is also decorated with beautiful Byzantine artwork of glistening gold and deep red.
Activities in Dahab
Diving & Snorkelling: The diving is the main reason why many people choose to have holidays in Dahab at all. Dahab has some of the best dive sites in the world, including the Eel Garden and the Blue Hole. A word of warning though, whilst the Blue Hole is an extremely enjoyable dive, it’s also very challenging and should only be attempted by experienced divers. The Eel Garden offers a more leisurely experience, with a huge population of little eels which hide under rocks; the dive certainly lives up to its name. You can also expect to see Scorpion, Parrot and Clown fishes here too.
Water sports: The Egyptian Seas are perfectly suited to water sports, as they remain at a very warm temperature all year round. The Gulf of Aqaban, which is the nearest stretch of water to Dahab, is no different. Along the coastline you’ll find schools and water sport centres offering facilities and equipment for windsurfing, kite-surfing and kayaking. Windsurfing holidays in particular are very popular, as Dahab is internationally renowned for strong, reliable winds yet with flat, mirror-like water.
Mount Sinai: Mount Sinai is around 35km away from Dahab, and there are many excursions available for visiting the mountain. St. Catherine’s Monastery is actually based at the foot of Mount Sinai, so you’ll be able to take in two sights in one! There’s a 7km trail which leads to 750 steps to take you to the summit, which we’d advise you travel by camel rather than on foot. Plus, the best time of day to go is very early in the morning, making it to the mount by 5.30am to see the burnt amber sunrise. A perfect picture opportunity for holidays in Dahab!
Quad biking: The Sinai Desert (which forms part of the Sinai Peninsula and begins where Dahab ends) is the perfect place for all sorts of high-octane driving. The main pursuit you can take part in yourself is quad-biking, with many events companies offering holiday excursions into the desert to drive (and bounce) over the sand dunes. If you’d feel a little safer inside a car, you could always get someone else to drive you around the desert in a 4x4 – it’s an equally thrilling experience!
Beaches in Dahab
Assalah: Egyptians aren’t big on giving names to their beaches, so instead we thought we’d point you in the right direction if you want to enjoy some sandy coastline. The name ‘Dahab’ itself translates as ‘Golden’ and it’s apt that the beaches here are exactly that colour. The area of Assalah is the original site for the thriving Bedouin village that existed here. It’s based on a beautiful 1km long stretch of sandy beach, although you’ll likely see more backpackers and divers on holidays here than the native nomadic people.
Laguna Beach: To the south of the centre of Dahab, you’ll come to Laguna. It’s here that many of the major all inclusive hotels are based. Luckily, the beach around here also has the name ‘Laguna Beach’, so it should be easy to find. The sand is of a fine golden variety, and out to sea the strong winds attract windsurfers from all over the world. There are also a good number of private beaches in Laguna which belong to hotels offering all inclusive holidays in Dahab.
Palm Beach: Ok, so this beach has actually got a name, unlike many of the beaches in Egypt! Palm Beach is also unique for its colour – the sand is of a light grey tone rather than the glistening gold usually found on Egyptian coastlines. The waves out to sea are a little livelier here, so Palm Beach has a large community of people on surfing holiays.
Restaurants in Dahab
Shark: An incredibly popular restaurant, the outdoor terrace of Shark has fabulous views out to sea. But it’s not just the views so many diners come here for – the food is incredibly fresh and perfectly cooked. The mouth-watering menu includes such delights as vegetable koftas, chicken tagine and battered king prawns.
Meya Meya: Another impeccably clean restaurant (which can be a rarity if you go to the wrong places on holidays in Egypt), Meya Meya offers international cuisine with an Egyptian twist in much the same way as Shark. As can be expected of a coastal restaurant, the seafood is very fresh, with the spaghetti mussels and grilled swordfish both excellent choices.
Blue House Thai Restaurant: It’s refreshing to see other types of cuisine offered on Dahab holidays rather than the usual British or Egyptian restaurants. Blue House serves utterly authentic Thai food in a serene seaside setting. Try the hot and sour Tom Yum Soup or the deliciously creamy Red Curry.
Great markets: When it comes to shopping, the main attraction for Dahab holidays lies in its markets. There are actually two within the resort: firstly, there’s Assala Market, which devotes a large open-air space to stalls selling everything from pungent perfumes to silver jewellery and decorative carpets. The selection of food on offer here is fantastic too – look out for the fresh spices and teas for bringing back home with you from holidays in Dahab. Aside from Assala, you can also visit Ghazala Market. It’s rather unique for an Egyptian market, as everything is inside an air-conditioned building. It makes a refreshing change to be able to walk around in a cool environment while you shop! The stalls here are also great, selling most of the Egyptian wares you’ve come to expect like rugs, spices and leather goods.