The Best Vacation Destination For Clear Water Diving In The Winter Is This African City

Once the winter blues kick in, many of us long for sunnier days, warmer weather, and a beachy getaway to replace the clouds and ice. That fantasy can become a reality when you book a trip to the laid-back coastal town of Dahab. Even if you haven't heard the name before, Dahab should be on any traveler's radar, especially if you're a fan of diving or snorkeling. The town is located in Egypt, in the country's South Sinai Governorate, and just out from the Sinai Peninsula, offering multiple access points to the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba.

Dahab's beach town vibes — it's affectionately known as the "Ibiza of Egypt" — make it a predictable hot spot in the summer, but during the winter, the area doesn't disappoint with its mild and sunny weather. However, don't mistake Dahab for being just another tropical vacation destination. The African city stands out with its strikingly clear waters and stunning coral reefs. During your visit, you might find yourself spending just as much time underwater as you do exploring the town's vibrant streets and local food joints.

How to go diving in Dahab

Whether you're an avid diver or new to under-the-sea adventures, Dahab's numerous diving schools and tours offer something for everyone. SlyDive is one of the most popular businesses in the area, offering courses for beginners, kids, and even dive masters. Bedouin Divers, Big Blue Dahab, and Octopus World Dahab Dive Center are also popular choices for dive excursions, though know that if they don't offer the dive session you're looking for, you'll likely find it at one of the dozens of other centers in the area.

Dives are done in multiple places in and around Dahab, some of which require a boat or even a camel to reach. If you'd prefer to scope out the sites yourself — or if you're just looking for an easygoing day of snorkeling — venture to one of the town's beaches. The Blue Hole is a well-known spot on the peninsula, though don't try to reach the bottom of the hole alone. It's often regarded as one of the most dangerous dive sites in the world, and some locals estimate that hundreds of people have perished there. Canyon is another spot that's more of a diving site than a proper beach, but the crystal-clear waters and colorful sea life are well worth the visit.

For shallow diving and snorkeling, head to Three Pools, named for its three lagoons. Swim alongside the fish and squid that thrive there without needing to plunge too deep below the water's surface.

Other ways to warm up and unwind in Dahab

Dahab is ideal for a winter getaway and not just for its fair temperatures and world-class diving opportunities. The town is the perfect place to try your hand at kitesurfing or windsurfing — that is, if you can peel yourself off the relaxing sandy beaches. For a different perspective of the clear blue waters, hop on a day-long luxury cruise, though note that you may first need to travel to the nearby resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh to board.

For stunning views and one of the best sunsets in the region, drive to the Small Canyon Walk, located just outside of central Dahab. The hike takes you to the top of the canyon, where you can catch a 360-degree glimpse of the town, taking in the sights of its vast desert backdrop and sapphire-hued sea from above.

Finally, a trip to Dahab calls for some cafe and bar hopping, but be aware that some nightlife spots can't legally serve liquor. Some visitors get around this by bringing their own alcohol, though this isn't always allowed or encouraged. If you're looking for a delicious yet low-key meal, try out one of the beachside lounges dotting the coast, where you can eat next to the water on rainbow-colored rugs and Egyptian floor cushions.