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Low-key, laid-back and low-rise, Dahab is the Middle East’s prime beach resort for independent travellers.

The startling transformation from Bedouin outpost to spruced-up tourist village is not without its detractors, who reminisce fondly of the days when beach bums dossed in basic huts by the shore. But for all the starry-eyed memories, there are plenty of pluses that have come with prosperity. Diving is now a much safer and more organised activity thanks to better regulation of operators; the town is cleaner and more family-friendly, offering accommodation choices for everyone rather than just hardened backpackers.

This is the one town in South Sinai where independent travellers are the rule rather than the exception, and Dahab’s growth has not destroyed its budget-traveller roots. Reeled in by its mellow ambience, many travellers plan a few nights here and instead stay for weeks.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Dahab.