Stretched randomly over about 15km, Nuweiba lacks a defined centre and a cohesive ambience, and functions primarily as a port town rather than a travellers’ retreat. For a brief period, following the Egypt–Israel peace treaty of 1979, a thriving Israeli tourism trade here meant Nuweiba could claim rivalry to Dahab as Sinai’s hippy beach paradise. However, due to the vagaries of the regional political situation over recent decades, Israeli travellers have for the most part shunned Nuweiba – and much of Sinai for that matter. While Sharm has boomed under waves of foreign and domestic investment, and Dahab has grown steadily into a low-key resort town, Nuweiba has been left to go to seed. As a result, most travellers pass through Nuweiba either on their way to the scenic beach camps further north, or to catch the Aqaba-bound ferry en route to Petra in Jordan.
Although it’s perhaps not a tourist destination in itself, some fine sandy beaches, a number of laid-back resorts and backpacker- friendly camps make Nuweiba a pleasant enough place to spend a few days. All the camps and hotels here can organise jeep and camel safaris into the interior, and the modest diving scene means that its offshore reefs are comparatively uncrowded.