The following is my basic 9 nights package itinerary but I am happy to change or expand it to suit your requirements.

Egypt Holidays 9 nights – starts in Cairo on Wednesdays

This package is available for minimum 2 persons but also for groups.


  • Giza Plateau
  • Saqqara and it’s 7 step pyramid complex
  • Inside The Great Pyramid of Giza
  • Solar Boat if open
  • Panorama
  • Valley Temple at the Sphinx
  • Sphinx Enclosure
  • Antiquities Museum at Tahrir Square
  • Medieval Cairo:
    • Bab Al Futuh (Gate of Conquests) & the Northern Walls
    • Muezz St.
    • Mosque of Al-Hakim
    • Sabile-Kuttab of Sulayman Agha al-Silahdar
    • Hanging Mosque of Sulayman Agha al-Silahdar
    • Street of Coppersmiths & Antiques Area
    • Bayt al-Sihaymi
    • Hammam of Sultan Inal
    • Mausoleum & Madrasa of Sultan Qalawun
    • Mausoleum of As-Salih Nagm Al-din Ayyub – his wife was Shajar al-Durr and this is their story
    • Street of the Gold & Silversmiths
    • Khan El Khalili
  • Gayer Anderson House
  • Ibn Tulun Mosque


  • Temples at Abydos and Dendera,
  • West Bank of Luxor:
    • Valley of the Kings
    • Hatshepsut’s Temple
    • Temple of Medinet Habu
    • Nobles Tombs
    • Colossi of Memnon
    • Optional extra tombs – Sety I, Queen Nefertari, and the Tomb of Tutankhamun
  • Karnak and Luxor Temples, sail to Esna, and overnight in Edfu
  • Temple of Horus at Edfu,
  • Temple at Kom Ombo
  • Temple of Isis at Philae
  • Optional extra – Nubian Village,
  • Optional extra – Elephantine Island
  • Optional extra – Abu Simbel

NOTE:  It is really, really necessary to book holidays which include a Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan at a minimum 3 months ahead if you want a good boat, but to be honest 6 months is best.  For a Christmas cruise you need to book a year in advance.

It is possible to do the above itinerary and leave out the Luxor to Aswan Cruise  Replace it with an extra days tour in Cairo and an Overday tour to Alexandria – email with any questions you might have in this regard


  • Abdeen Palace
  • Islamic Museum
  • Coptic Cairo (plus Cave Church and Garbage City if requested)
  • Islamic Cairo (mosques of Sultans Hassan and Rifaii)
  • Manial Palace and Nileometer
  • Aisha Fahmy Palace
  • City of the Dead
  • Civilization Museum
ALEXANDRIA – overday tour
  • Catacombs at Kom El Shoqafa
  • Roman Amphitheatre
  • Montazah Palace
  • Royal Jewellery Museum of Alexandria
  • National Museum of Alexandria
  • Citadel of Qaitbay
  • Bibliotech Alexandria

For full details email:

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  1. Fantastic Guest House
    My wife and I, both in our 70’s, stayed here for 5 days in Luxor with tour arrangements handled by Mara and her team for Aswan and Cairo. I was surprised by some recent negative reviews but understand that some people might have unrealistic expectations of a guest house in the third world. We feel the tradeoffs in exchange for the benefits surpassed our expectation, even without considering the low price for our stay. We have travelled extensively in Asia over the years and plan our trips far in advance in order to achieve the best possible experience. Mara was willing to put up with my frequent emails full of questions.

    The suite was huge with a separate sitting room and bedroom, both full of antiques. Our wifi worked perfectly. We had a frig in the room. The bathroom is typical for a guest house and is as described on the web site. We had plenty of hot water and the shower drained onto the perfectly sloped floor and was dry and clean within 3-5 minutes. We always bring our own soap, shampoo, and tissues on trips which we have found needed at guest houses even in Europe.

    Food was excellent. Breakfasts were enough for two meals. We expressed interest in local foods so Amr prepared different foul and soft Egyptian cheeses for us daily. Each day we had a sampling of local pastries, fresh bread and in season fruits. A vegetarian feast was served at our request one evening, and we had the best koshary of our trip one day for lunch. Most of our dinners were taken in local restaurants. Transportation was arranged for us which came on time and was always ready for us when we were ready to depart. Amr even accompanied us shopping, to places we chose, without being dragged to the large group tour stores with their inflated prices and commissions as is typical of Egypt. He also went with us on a caleche tour as well as a felucca trip to make sure everything went smoothly.

    We felt that we had been welcomed into a private home, with children interacting with us and avoided the sterile atmosphere of a hotel.

    We chose Mara specifically because we felt that her relationships with local guides and transport would be vastly superior to random guides arranged by a large hotel. We were not disappointed. We spent two days on the west bank, one on the east, and another on a trip to Abydos and Dendera, all accompanied by her inhouse guide Mo.

    Mo accompanied us to Aswan stopping at Esna, Edfu and Kom Ombo on the way. We spent three additional days with him in Aswan. He even called us twice to check on us after we got to Cairo.

    Tours in Cairo were arranged through Mara as well. She even set up an expeditor to get us through the airport in Cairo on arrival and departure smoothly, much faster than we could have managed on our own-also typical of third world travel.

    I think that those with negative reviews might have had unrealistic expectations. We felt that we had a great experience at a low price.

    Travelled as couple in May 2023. Reviewed on TripAdvisor

  2. Roberto V from Mexico wrote on 30/12/2022 at 8:57 pm
    This is the PLACE to stay to be welcome and personal and not being just one more tourist in Luxor

    AMAZING, words cannot describe how welcome and cosy my family felt while staying at Mara House!. The site is a true oasis in the middle of Luxor, and I am not only talking about the house itself but also about the cherished service we were provided by Amr and his family who is the house manager; we never felt like one more guest in hotel chain but rather we felt like friends or family invited to stay and it that way you get a perspective of how Egyptians live by staying in a real Egyptian house rather than a hotel. With that in mind Mara House is not for you if you are looking for a big hotel chain with restaurants, buffet, swimming pool, luxury, lots of tourists, big reception desk and people working around in suits; Mara House is about being independent, free spirits, and have different points of view of Egypt; and YES you should order The Salahadeen Feast dinner because I can guarantee you that it will be the best meal you will have in your Egyptian vacation because it is cooked with love like your granny will do and it taste delicious.

    Apart from staying at Mara House we also booked our entire Egypt tours with her, from Cairo to Luxor, including the Nile Cruise and some add on sites we wanted to see; Mara did a pristine job on coordinating everything and providing information along the way (both at the time of booking but also when we were in Egypt) and despite we had an issue with a driver pick up at the airport in Cairo; Mara quickly corrected it and even reimburse us for that pick up without having to ask her to do it.

    I would truthy recommend Mara and her team for your Egyptian adventures.

    Travelled with family Dec 2022. Reviewed on TripAdvsor

  3. This is a review to cover both a stay at Mara House, Luxor itself (3 nights) and the more general tours package organised by Mara.

    Mara House: Excellent place in downtown Luxor. Approx. 10 min walk to Luxor railway station and so about 15min walk to Luxor temple and various streets of shops (both “regular” and “tourist focused”) coffee houses, etc. Amr, the House Manager, is one of the nicest and most helpful people I have met – was more than happy to walk around Luxor on my first (free) day to try find some things I had forgotten to pack and also get a local SIM for my phone. Also a great cook (even if he always seemed to cook enough for 2 of me – and I have a hearty appetite)! He also came and found me when I found that the location of Mara House on Google Maps is actually not correct and so I was struggling to find my way back after a walk one evening. I will also mention that you get far more space for your money at Mara House than you would at any conventional hotel. Only downside of the house itself is the shower – namely the fact you have to turn on the heating c. 30mins before you want a shower, otherwise you get lukewarm (ambient temp) water.

    The optional extras I did in Luxor were the Luxor museum and a felucca trip in Luxor (organised by Amr).

    Luxor museum (unguided): only takes about an hour but worth the 140 LE fee. Ensure you see the 2 mummies there as easy to miss .

    Felucca ride: as mentioned, this was organised by Amr and it was clear there was a particular boat he wanted to use. Unfortunately, it was a shambles and we spent over half the time punting along the bank of the Nile. Amr kept saying the issue was the lack of wind, but other feluccas seems to be managing just fine. This was 300 LE (approx. £15) and something I could have done without. It also would have been nice to be told the cost upfront (along with the cost of a taxi for the afternoon – not really needed as everything was actually quite walkable – at another 400 LE (£20)).

    Tours: I did the full suite of tours from Luxor down to Abu Simbel, all organised by Mara.

    Abydos & Dendara: Both definite “must do’s”. It is though a lot of driving.

    Valley of the Kings: I paid the extra to do the Rameses V/VI (80 LE) and Seti I (1,000 LE) tombs and thought both were definitely worth it. I also paid the 300 LE for the photo pass (required to use a proper camera inside, rather than just a mobile phone). While the ticket does not state a limit, practice seems to be this allows you to take photos in 3 tombs, although the ticket is not always asked for, particularly if you let a guard take some photos of you and give them a decent tip (20-50 LE depending a bit on the tomb and how helpful the guard is). N.B. Other than 1 tomb at the Tombs of the Nobles, guides are not allowed inside the tombs (they are allowed at the outdoor sites though).

    I did not go to Valley of the Queens as the only tomb there on the itinerary is an optional extra (tomb of Queen Nefertari (1,500 LE entry fee and you are officially only allowed 10mins inside)).

    Karnak temple: Another must. Massive and amazing in equal measure.

    Luxor temple: Very much the “smaller brother” of Karnak. Did not get the best of it as there was a lot of scaffolding up, staging, etc. for a big event (the official opening of the Avenue of Sphinxes, connecting Luxor and Karnak temples) in early Nov.

    Nile cruise: personally, this was not to my tastes. Each to their own, but think this is better who want a slower pace, starched uniforms and international food. Personally, I would have preferred an extra day at Mara House and then done a day trip down to Aswan, covering the temples en route (early morning and buy day, but that is fine by me), and shaving a day off the itinerary.

    Temple of Horus at Edfu (Idfu) and Kom Ombok: definitely worth a visit if you are passing, but add little to those you will see in Luxor.

    Temple of Isis at Philae: Note this is not actually at Philae island anymore – like Abu Simbel, it was moved due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam. By this point, I was probably getting a bit templed-out.

    Abu Simbel: long drive, but definitely worth it! I do though very much recommend you look to leave Aswan between about 8-9am so you arrive late morning/just gone midday so then the crowds (from all the tour busses) will be leaving/have left. That does though mean that when you are outside (e.g. walking between the carpark and the temples, or between the temples) you are in the midday sun – so prepare accordingly. However, If you leave Aswan at c. 6am like most do, expect it to be a zoo! The temples though are amazing (do see both – if anything, the small (Nefertari) temple is actually prettier than the Great (Rameses II) temple). N.B. Guides are not allowed inside and you also need to purchase a photo pass (another 300 LE) to use a camera other than a smartphone. The main road back to Aswan closes at 5pm so you need to be aback t the checkpoint (Abu Simbel side) by about 2:30pm – otherwise you will have an enforced overnight stay.

    Mohammed was my guide for all the tours (inc. those visited via the Nile cruise). Lovely guy, very softly spoken – reminded me of an old fashioned university professor! Always helpful and it was nice to have the guided tours then be given a bit of time to wonder around sites myself. It definitely was a pity not being allowed to have a guide inside the tombs/Abu Simbel though. Also, personal preference, it would be nice to have had a bit more talk about things other than the temples when travelling between sites (particularly on the long journeys) – I did find that car journeys were pretty quiet.

    Overall, while it is possible to do a lot of this solo, I do think having things organised on a private / small group basis can really help in Egypt and I think Mara does this well and she is very good at answering any questions you have between booking and arrival and I would definitely recommend Mara House for your time in Luxor.

    Traveled solo. Reviewed on Tripadvisor Oct 2021 Booked the 9 night package

  4. “My wife, grown daughter, and I came to Egypt on Mara’s 9 day tour. As you know, the sights and food in Egypt are wonderful; this review will focus on post-Covid concerns you might have. We decided to come despite Covid because we are all vaccinated and Egypt has a low covid prevalence.”

    We almost missed our flight out of the US because they said our Covid test done on Saturday was too old for our flight on Monday. We had a rapid re-test on Monday am. I would suggest getting tests two days before your flight and then the day before your flight. Get the tests late in the day; for example if your flight leaves at 4pm, get swabbed at 4:30 pm. You want your tests to be as “fresh” as possible.

    Mara made sure the Egyptian logistics were all very smooth. The guides (Mohammed Hedar and Mohammed Ahmed) were both very friendly, knowledgeable, and vaccinated. Most of the drivers were also vaccinated. I encouraged the hotel staff to get vaccinated also. We were touring from 9am to 3-5pm every day, after which we were tired and happy.

    The Steigenberger hotel in Tahrir Square was modern and clean. It was near great restaurants including Felfala, Abou Tarek (khosary), and El Abd Pastry. The Old Cairo Museum was directly across the street. We walked 20 minutes to the Cairo tower.

    We were the first group at Mara House since the pandemic began. As others have noted, the House is not in a scenic or walk-friendly area, but the rooms are huge, comfortable and cool. The chef, Amr, prepares very nice meals. On our free evening Amr arranged a car to take us to the Luxor museum and to watch the sunset from the waterfront.

    The Nile cruise was on the Steigenberger Royale ship. It appeared to be the cleanest and newest boat in operation. It was limited to 50% occupancy. The staff did temperature checks, wore masks, etc. I don’t know whether they were vaccinated.

    Our family was required to have a new Covid pcr test prior to departure due to regulations in Jordan, our next destination. The guide was very helpful in organizing this. It was pretty expensive but the nice printed documents were helpful in getting through the international flights.

    Overall it was a great trip. We had Egypt basically to ourselves! What a great opportunity. I encourage you to email Mara and set up a trip soon before the crowds return.

    – Travelled as Family. Reviewed on TripAdvisor May 2021 – booked Egypt 9 Nights Package

  5. We were taken care of from the moment we arrived at the airport through our departure after 10 days in Egypt. I can’t say enough about the accommodation, food, tour guides, tour managers and the quality of our itinerary. We saw the best of the best and the timing was designed to minimize waits. Just one example was arriving at the great pyramids in Giza before the tour busses arrived so that we were actually the only ones in the great pyramid at the time. Mara usually has more guests but as it turned out we were the only ones on our tour. I am willing to bet that any other tour company would have cancelled us. Because every guide, driver, tour coordinator we had was Egyptian, we feel we had a more authentic experience than we would have with a North American Company. Egypt itself was awesome, and even better with Mara and her fabulous local staff.

    Traveled as couple Sept 2019. Reviewed on Tripadvisor May 2020. Booked the Egypt 9 Nights Package

  6. Being a solo traveler to a country such as Egypt can be a little daunting. Thankfully I found Mara House early in the planning stages of my trip. I found Mara’s blog posts invaluable – I read them all, some of them several times! I ended up booking the 9 night Egypt tour with an extra night in Cairo so I could add on a day trip to Alexandria.

    I didn’t actually have much communication with Mara herself – in fact I only got my actual itinerary when I emailed Mara the day before I left on my trip to ask for it, and she wasn’t in Luxor when I arrived. However all her guides were fabulous! Ahmed was in constant contact making sure my trip was running smoothly. Nothing was too much trouble for him. A BIG thanks to Ahmed for letting me borrow his USB charger for my phone while I was in Cairo!!

    Suzie and our driver in Cairo were both incredible. Thank you for taking us to eat at local places, I enjoyed the koshari immensely 🙂 Driving around Garbage city was a fun experience for me!

    Mohamed took us to Alexandria for the day and was a terrific guide. So full of knowledge and very easy to get along with.

    Once arriving at Mara House in Luxor, Amr took great care of us and fed us until I was fit to burst! The food was sensational – I only wish I could’ve eaten more. Mara House itself is just like staying in someones home. The suite I had was massive, with my own balcony, sitting room and extra large bedroom. I appreciated the suburban location so I could get a real feel for the way regular Egyptians live, however I did miss being able to easily take a stroll along the Nile – it’s a good 20-30 minute walk to the river so wasn’t very convenient to take an evening wander. I also missed small things such as having instant hot water and amenities such as shampoo etc available in the room.

    Mohamed was our guide for our entire time in Luxor and on the cruise. You couldn’t ask for a better person to accompany you on the tour. Full of interesting facts and stories. I don’t think there was one question I had that he didn’t know the answer for. I felt very lucky to have him during my time there!

    I had such an amazing time in Egypt I’m already planning my return, this time bringing a bunch of my family members with me! I will definitely be booking with Mara House again! Thank you for making my trip to Egypt so special.

    Reviewed on Google Maps 6 March 2020 – booked Egypt Holidays 9 nights

  7. I’ve wanted to visit Egypt since before I can remember, but everyone I’ve known who’s been there has told me that due to the hassle from the touts and the difficulties of getting around Cairo and the country, you really need to take a guided tour. I’ve always traveled on my own, and I’d never been part of a tour group for longer than a day trip, so that worried me. But last year I got serious about going, and while researching, stumbled across Mara House, which turned out to have the best itinerary of any tour I’d found. And after contacting Mara, I was amazed to find out it also had the best price, and her blog had answers to every question I had about traveling in Egypt, and many I didn’t know I had.

    So this month I took the 9-night Egypt tour package, and also did the optional tours of Coptic Cairo, the day trip to Alexandria, and Abu Simbel. And the whole experience was even better than I’d dreamed, seeing everything I ever wanted to see with guides whose stories and explanations made everything more memorable. My thanks to Ayman who smoothed my arrival in Cairo; Suzy who took us to Coptic Cairo, Giza, and the Egyptian Museum; Mohammed who took us to Alexandria; and Mohammed who guided us around Luxor, on the cruise, and to Abu Simbel. Mara House in Luxor is beautiful—I especially enjoyed the rooftop terrace–and Amr was not only an excellent host who answered every request but was also responsible for the incredible meals.

    Special thanks to Ahmed, who not only guided the Medieval Cairo tour, but checked in with us every day in Cairo by phone or in person to make sure everything was going well. Then on my final day, I got to be a test subject as Ahmed did a trial run of the new Royal Cairo tour, which I can heartily recommend. We began at Manial Palace on the island of Roda for a history of the Egyptian royal family. Next we went to the City of the Dead to see two astonishing tombs; one neglected, full of graves, and haunting; the other still beautifully maintained thanks to continual upkeep paid for by a royal abroad who intends to be buried there. We ended up with more royal tombs in the mosques of Sultan Hassan and al-Rifai, which are worth seeing on their own, and since they’re right across from Saladin’s Citadel, Ahmed offered to take me there as well, where I got a last view over Cairo to the pyramids.

    I also want to mention the wonderful staff and service at the Steinberger El Tahrir, and aboard the MS Concerto, as well as the friendly drivers. I can’t thank Mara and her colleagues enough, and will be recommending Mara House tours to everyone who wants to explore Egypt.

    Traveled solo. Reviewed on TripAdvisor 29 Feb 2020 – Egypt Holidays Package – 9 nights

  8. Where do I even begin? My husband and I just finished the nine night tour with Mara House. Mara and her staff are the kindest people! Ahmed and both Mohammeds where extremely knowledgeable on Egypt past and present. We learned so much from them! Amr the chef and manager of Mara house made the best food! The feast was exceptional!! Mara house it’s self is clean, spacious, beautifully decorated and has such a homey feel. We were able to see SO much in our short time in Egypt!! Book with Mara House you will not regret it!!

    Traveled as couple Aug 2019 Reviewed on Google Maps Egypt 9 nights package

  9. When we first arrived to Egypt I was sick for the first few days and our Tour manager Ahmed and guide Suzy went above and beyond helping me to get better always checking on if I was improving and it was really great of them the first few days in Cairo was awesome then when we got to Mara House the hotel was amazing and felt homely Amir was an amazing hotel manager very helpful, the food at Mara house was great, our Tour guide in Luxor Mo was fantastic and very Knowledgeable with all the stories and culture would definitely go back to Egypt using Mara House again!!

    Travelled as family May 2019. Reviewed on TripAdvisor. 9 night package with extra tours

  10. First class service from Cairo to Luxor to Aswan to Alexandria. Mara’s tour agency provides a safe, comfortable and fun Egypt experience. Knowledgeable and caring guides are with you every step of the way from arrival at the Cairo airport to tours of the sights to departure from Egypt. I have recommended her agency unreservedly to both my adult daughters and to close friends. That says it all. And when booking your tour, remember Alexandria. We found it to be a Mediterranean delight.

    J.G. Connecticut, USA. Traveled as family. April 2019 Egypt 9 nights package. Reviewed on TripAdvisor.