Discover Morocco through an artist’s eye with fashion illustrator Meagan Morrison of Travel Write Draw
Discover Morocco through an artist’s eye
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Exclusive artistic look at Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains, Essaouira
You’re navigating a labyrinth of medieval souks as the call to prayer echos out from ancient mosques, spices and sizzling kebabs perfuming the air. You’re in Marrakech, emerging at dusk into the buzzing heart of the city, Djemaa el Fna, as the vast square fills with soothsayers and snake charmers, musicians and acrobats. Shouts from merchants and food sellers compete for your attention. The experience is overwhelming, it’s chaos, it’s commotion—and it’s incredible. Sketchbook in hand, you close your eyes and relish every moment as the sky grows darker and the rows of market stalls grow brighter, like a thousand sparks of inspiration.
Along with you is Meagan Morrison, the fashion illustrator and creative mind behind Travel Write Draw. Morocco with Meagan is an adventure designed to inspire your creativity. It doesn’t matter if you fancy yourself a creative or not. Meagan will help uncover that spark and tap into your inner artist. She’s thrilled to share her favorite spots to sketch, draw and photograph the colors and textures, the sights and sounds, that make Morocco an ongoing source of inspiration for her.
If you possess a boundless passion for art, design and cultural exploration, this trip is for you. From madcap Marrakech to the serene Atlas Mountains and beaches of Essaouira, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use travel not only as an enlightening experience, but as creative fuel. We’ll supply the match.
Traditional mountain villages, colorful Marrakech markets, the breezy beaches of Essaouira. Delight in the small moments—the gentle hum of a sleepy street, a sunrise call to prayer, the buzz of a market in full swing.
Inspire your creativity at souk stalls and art galleries, in family homes and alongside working artists and craftspeople. Connect with Meagan, and with a like-minded group of people passionate about art and design.
Meagan is the creative mind behind Travel Write Draw. No surprise, travel is Meagan’s lifeblood, the inspiration for her illustrations and her greatest motivator. She’s thrilled to share her favorite spots that make Morocco an ongoing source of inspiration for her.
“Marrakech? The rush of every sense being ignited at once; sight, smell, sound, touch.” —Meagan Morrison
“I love the sheer level of details in Moroccan design. The intricate plaster work, tiles, textiles and handwoven rugs.” —Meagan Morrison
A collection of expertly curated experiences to the world’s most inspiring destinations. Designed to broaden your perspective, expand your exploration and connect you to a community the world over. Travel deeper with AFAR and Modern Adventure.
Ready to ignite your creative spark? Look no further than Morocco. From Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains to Essaouira, we’ll explore ancient souks where vibrant colors radiate, wander foothills to be invited into traditional family homes, learn heritage techniques from local craftspeople and have our very own artist by our side.
Salam alaikum! Welcome to Marrakech, the heart of a thousand-year-old desert empire full of art and artistry. Marrakech is a showcase of tile and textiles, ceramics and swirling stucco designs, with a creative energy that has long drawn artists. It continues to thrive thanks to the craftspeople of the ancient souqs (street bazaars) and the contemporary art and design scene of the modern Ville Nouvelle.
We’ll meet up with Meagan at our hotel, set our intention for the week, and dive right in. Our first order of business: a late-afternoon visit to Djemaa el Fna. As the sun sets, the square at the heart of Marrakech comes alive—a mesmerizing open-air show. It’s also the perfect prelude to our welcome dinner under an elegant, hand-painted zouaké ceiling surrounded by flower-filled patios and fountains. Tonight we toast to our Moroccan adventures to come!
Design is our theme for today, starting inside the dusky-pink walls surrounding the medina (old city). We’ll explore the warren of ancient streets and narrow lanes, stopping at Morocco’s largest mosque, Koutoubia, and at Palais Bahia, a grand 19th-century palace drawing upon the geometric patterns, heavenly arches and bold colors that have dominated architecture here for centuries. After lunch in the medina, our design-forward exploration continues as we wander through market stalls overflowing with intricate textiles, colorful ceramics and pungent spices. We’ll also meet some of the artisans who are keeping centuries-old Moroccan traditions alive through their work.
We’ll have time back at the hotel and then regroup for dinner, a sumptuous gastronomique experience at iconic Dar Yacout, deep in the medina, with sweeping rooftop views over the old city.
Sketchpad or camera in hand, we start today at the eye-catching Yves Saint Laurent Museum. It honors the late French fashion designer, who considered Marrakech both his second home and a wellspring of inspiration. The soothing interiors showcase YSL art and fashion pieces. Adjacent Jardin Majorelle—named after French artist Jacques Majorelle, and occupying his former home and studio—is a magical garden space: an oasis of palm trees, cacti and waterways. It’s a favorite of Meagan’s, and the perfect spot for us to sketch or paint, or simply to enjoy, as Meagan brings to life her own creative process with us.
Lunch today is at +61, one of Marrakech’s top modern kitchens, with a focus on simple, fresh and seasonal. We’ll round out the afternoon at Mushmina, a pop-up fashion brand designed to empower Moroccan women. We’ll sit down with designer/co-owner Katie O’Neill for a conversation about running a creative business in Morocco, and the origins and integrity from which all art is created. Afterwards, the evening is ours to explore.
The old world is never far off in Marrakech, but this morning’s focus is the upscale Gueliz district, and its wide-open avenues lined with art galleries and fashion boutiques. We’ll visit a selection of galleries with a diverse collection of Moroccan contemporary art on view. Then we’re off to Riad Yima, the brainchild of Moroccan pop-art icon Hassan Hajjaj. He transformed Riad Yima into a gallery and traditional tea room. We’ll have the intimate space to ourselves, with Meagan leading a discussion about creativity, design and travel, inspiring us to think about all we’ve seen and experienced so far.
Then it’s time to get hands-on at a zilij (zellige) tile workshop, where we learn the art of forming, firing and glazing traditional zellige clay tiles like a true maâlem (master craftsman) passing knowledge down from generation to generation. This is how the true artist experiences Marrakech.
Today we head to the Atlas Mountains, swapping African, French and Arabic influences for Berber. The Saharan Berbers—who call themselves Amazigh, or “free people”—have ruled unconquered for thousands of years. They were once instrumental in setting up trade networks between North Africa and the Middle East; today they live in scattered communities in the Atlas Mountains.
After a traditional Amazigh lunch, we’ll meet the weavers of a local cooperative whose rugs are made by hand, exclusively by Amazigh women, on looms passed down for generations. Each piece is unique, featuring an abstract geometric language reflecting key phases of the creator’s life: as a virgin, a new bride, through marriage, pregnancy and motherhood. After, we’ll soak in the views high up in our blissful mountain retreat, then reconvene for dinner together to celebrate this next phase of our journey.
Awake in serene luxury, as sunshine filters gently through our kasbah’s terrace windows. After breakfast, we lace up our shoes and walk the foothills to the home of a local Amazigh family. After tea and a traditional lunch, the family has graciously set us up in a private area for an interactive discussion with Meagan, setting our artistic intentions in our new setting, and leveraging our experience of the mountains to stimulate our senses. The rest of the evening is ours to put our new insights to use, whether it’s writing in a journal, sketching the panoramic views from the kasbah, shooting photos or simply reflecting on this magical journey.
We say goodbye to our Atlas hideaway and head to the coastal city of Essaouira, all white-washed buildings and wind-swept beaches (and the setting for Slaver’s Bay in Game of Thrones). On the way, we’ll take time to visit another co-op, this one dedicated to argan oil, used cosmetically and in cooking for centuries. It’s produced from the seeds of argan trees, native only to this narrow strip of desert between Essaouira and the mountains.
Although Islamic tradition forbids alcohol, viticulture has a thousand-year history in Morocco. We’ll stop for lunch and a tasting at one of the most acclaimed local vineyards and wine producers, noted for its full-bodied reds produced using traditional wine-making methods. Refreshed and recharged, we’ll spend the late afternoon enjoying our traditional riad accommodations on the edge of the medina, possibly with a cocktail in hand, taking in sunset from our rooftop deck.
A guided tour kicks things off today, showing us the wonders of our new coastal setting as we wander along the ramparts, scoping out beaches and watching kite surfers ride majestic waves. For lunch, we feast on fresh seafood overlooking the harbor, and think of the vast differences in scenery we’ve experienced throughout our travels. Next, at a thuya wood workshop, we’ll learn about this biblical cedar and why it has been praised by Greeks, Romans and Moroccans for centuries. Gathering in the evening for one last ritual, we’ll meet for a farewell dinner at Caravane Café, easy to mistake for a Parisian bistro and cabaret. But like everything this trip, it is quintessential, mesmerizing Morocco. It’s also the farewell celebration to define all farewell celebrations!
Our time has come to an end, but the inspiration and insights from our trip and from Meagan are sure to nurture our creative heart and soul. Bid farewell to the group and transfer to Marrakech or Casablanca Airport. Here’s looking at you, Morocco.
Serene kasbahs and traditional riads—our Moroccan accommodations are meant to treat you, heal you, comfort you, and serve as a backdrop for inspiration
Luxuriate in this palatial riad, a traditional stately home centered around a lush courtyard, and just steps away from the medina. It's the epitome of elegance, and an iconic Marrakech getaway for over 60 years, offering traditional Moroccan craftsmanship, a world-class restaurant and hammam spa. But we won’t blame you if you spend all your time lounging by the swimming pool beneath the swaying palm fronds.
Kasbahs are former fortresses built with high walls—which for us means sweeping views over Ourika Valley farmland and the serene Atlas Mountains. The sunsets and stargazing here are spectacular. Wander the gardens, relax on your private terrace or in the infinity pool. Our kasbah experience is stylish and nurturing, a peaceful mountain escape with all the modern comforts.
On the edge of the medina, our Essaouira riad combines Moroccan craft with exceptional personalized service. The well-appointed rooms are supremely cozy, the perfect compliment to the billiard room and on-site hammam. Grab a cocktail and savor sunset by the heated pool on the rooftop deck.
That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below or call +1 (267) 668-0057 to ask us any questions you have. We're here weekdays 8am to 5pm Pacific.
Eight nights at unique four- and five-star accommodations; private travel for all day trips and excursions; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities, adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners; local beverages with meals.
International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in itinerary; gratuity for tour leader.
Our adventure begins in Marrakech, Morocco. The closest airport is Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK). We recommend arriving one day early to ensure you’re at our starting point on time. We end our trip in Essaouira, Morocco. The closest airports are Marrakech's RAK and Casablanca's Mohammed V (CMN). You can book onward flights from either airport; flights should be scheduled to depart at 4pm or later.
US citizens are not required to have a visa for tourist visits to Morocco for visits of less than 90 days, but you are required to show a valid US passport. It is recommended that your passport is valid for six months after your travels are over. For citizens of other countries, please check with a Moroccan Embassy or Consulate for information and requirements.
For solo travelers there is a $1,200 single-supplement fee, paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. If you would like us to pair you with a roommate, that option may be available upon checkout—these spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Our adventures typically have between 10 and 20 guests, and our Modern Adventure Team. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.
This trip is led by an expert Modern Adventure Trip Leader. They're an experienced travel guide, a representative of Modern Adventure and your go-to person for questions or concerns on the trip. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.
You may cancel on or before November 3, 2021 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after November 4, 2021, there is a 50% cancellation fee; on or after January 2, 2022 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or of the trip being canceled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details).