1. Dahab, Egypt
Dahab means ‘gold’ in Arabic – a name given to the area because of its golden sands. With a unique location on the edge of the Sinai desert, Dahab certainly remains an untapped treasure; budget accommodation almost on the beach means you can virtually roll out of your sleeping bag and into the water. Backed by mountain ranges, Dahab’s Bedouin settlement, Assalah, is a favoured beach-bum haunt, with unspoilt charm and chilled beachside
cafes, while up the coast are favoured and famous diving spots. Expensive resort-style hotels are at El Kura, where the bus stops; Assalah village in Mashraba Bay is much more chilled.
This 98km lick of sand is a wondrous mixture of dunes (some as high as 200m) and forest – the smell of pine will impart an otherworldly quality to your hammock time. Wilhelm von Humboldt believed that a trip to the Curonian Spit was essential nourishment for the soul, and Thomas Mann was also drawn to this timeless wonderland. It’s said that around 14 villages are buried under the endless, shifting dunes, making the Spit a kind of
Baltic Sahara. The towering 52m ‘Great Dune’ is in Nida; to get there take the ferry from Klaipeda to Neringa (costs around €10 per car), then drive or cycle 50km.