A Guide to Visiting Popeye Village
Popeye is a 1980 film starring the late Robin Williams as Popeye the Sailor Man. This was Robin Williams’ film debut! The film set was constructed in Malta and remains in place today, now as one of Malta’s top tourist attractions. Here is everything you need to know about visiting Popeye Village.
This is the only film set that still stands in Europe.
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*TOP TIP- to get a photo like the one above of the whole village. Walk around the cliff top before you enter the park to see the view of all of Sweethaven!
Anchor Bay is the home of Popeye Village, a purpose made film set. Construction of the film set took place in 1979, lasting 7 months. The film set contains 19 purpose-built buildings to recreate the fictional village of Sweethaven. A crew of 165 people worked to build the set. Popeye is a live-action musical feature film produced by Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions. The set constructed was elaborate and beyond what was required for filming, making the production costs high. After the film wrapped, it was decided to keep the set in place, as they did not want to tear it down. It is now a major tourist attraction. The movie received mixed reviews when it was released, but is now often regarded as a cult classic. Even if you haven’t seen the film, or you have and didn’t enjoy it, you should still visit Popeye Village. It’s a completely unique and quirky experience, with something for everyone.
Getting To Popeye Village
Popeye Village is located on the northwest coast of Malta. The best way to get to there is to drive. But if you are going to travel via public transport you can catch the bus. Buses in Malta do not really run to a schedule though, every bus I caught was late arriving at the stop. They also have so many stops on their routes that it can take quite a while to arrive at your destination. Below is a table of the buses you can take to reach Ghadira (Mellieha Bay) from the main cities.
|Valletta||41 & 42|
From Ghadira (Mellieha Bay) you can catch Bus 101 to Popeye Village, or you can walk for approximately 20-30 minutes to the attraction.
|Winter Season (November-March)||9.30am-4.30pm|
|Spring & Autumn (April-June // September & October)||9.30am- 5.30pm|
|Summer Season (July & August)||9.30am- 7.00pm|
Cost of Visiting Popeye Village
Winter Package 31st October- 31st May
Price Per Person: Adult Tickets 11.00 EUR // Child (3-12 years old) Ticket 9.00 EUR
Summer Package 1st-30th June, 3rd September- 27th October
Price Per Person: Adult Tickets 15.00 EUR // Child (3-12 years old) Ticket 12.00 EUR
Summer Package 1st July- 2nd September
Price Per Person: Adult Tickets 17.00 EUR // Child (3-12 years old) Ticket 13.50 EUR
The winter package offer includes entry to the film set, a 15 minute boat trip around Anchor Bay (this is weather permitting). I visited Popeye Village in March and the boat trip unfortunately wasn’t running on the day I visited. There are a variety of animation shows to watch, featuring characters from the film. You can also visit Popeye’s Comic Museum. The package includes entrance to the cinema and free popcorn, mini golf and a free postcard from Popeye Village.
All of these activities are also included in the summer package.
The summer package is the ticket offered in the summer months, this includes a number of extras activities which are not offered in the winter. During the summer there are sun beds, sun umbrellas and showers for visitors to use, allowing you to sunbathe on the lido around Anchor Bay. There are water games, water trampolines and water slides for children to play with. The boat trip and mini-golf are also available to visitors in the summer. With all of these activities on offer during the summer it is easy to spend a whole day at Popeye Village, as there is so much to do.
Things To Do At Popeye Village
I didn’t expect to spend as long as I did at Popeye Village, there was a great deal of things to do. It’s also in such a beautiful location that I was happy to just take in the views for a while. You can see a map of Popeye Village here.
Firstly, you can meet Popeye, Olive Oyl and Captain Bluto. These characters are brought to life by actors, and they put on various short animation shows throughout the day which are great fun to watch. These shows are carried out all throughout the village.
You can also take part in filming your own scene from the movie with the characters, using unique backdrops and costumes. You even get a DVD to take home of your performance! They also have a little movie premiere at the end of the day in the cinema, so you can watch your performance.
You can watch a 15 minute movie on the making of the film set and the film. This is shown in the cinema continuously throughout the day. The film allows you to find out more about the set and the production of the film. I found out many fun facts from this short film. Such as, the prosthetic arms that Robin Williams was supposed to wear as Popeye’s infamously large forearms, were not ready in time. This is why Popeye wears a raincoat at the start of the film, to hide this error. You also get free popcorn!
Popeye’s Comic Museum is also worth a visit. This museum has over 200 comic books on display from the 60s, 70s and 80s and displays other Popeye memorabilia.
The boat trip around Anchor Bay allows passengers to take in the beautiful views of Anchor Bay and its surroundings. It really is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to.
You can enter and explore many of the buildings in Popeye Village. Some of these include; the school, the dentists, the firehouse, the bakery and Olive Oyl’s House. Most of these buildings are still how they appear in the film, with the props and set ups still the same.
There is also an opportunity to see how Maltese silver filigree is made. This is a key part of Maltese culture, and the skills of making this unique jewellery are handed down from one generation to the next. You can also purchase items of jewellery if you wish to.
Food and drink at the attraction is pretty pricey. Beer is 5 EUR and I believe burgers are around 10 EUR. I had a fish burger in the Seafarer’s Restaurant, and it was tasty, however I would of rather eaten somewhere a bit nicer. It was the kind of standard food you expect at tourist attractions, and the standard inflated prices. Although the burger was big, the fish didn’t even fit in the bun!
Tips for Visiting Popeye Village
- Take your own food. There are only 2 food outlets available and they were quite expensive. And have limited options.
- Take your own drinks. There wasn’t a shop to buy bottles of water or suchlike in. Therefore you should plan your visit beforehand and ensure you bring enough water for you trip, Malta can be hot!
- Visit in quieter months. I visited in March and the attraction was not very busy. This made it very enjoyable to explore at my own pace. I imagine during the summer it’s very busy, and you may have to wait to be able to enter the buildings and cinema etc.
- If you are travelling via bus, leave early. Buses in Malta rarely run on time. Therefore the best thing to do to get to the Village in good time is to leave early.
- Don’t expect this to be a theme park. I’ve seen so many bad reviews about this attraction from people expecting it to be a theme park. It’s not, there are not rides, it’s simply a chance to explore the original set of the film and celebrate your love of all things Popeye. It’s a unique day out.
You Can Visit Free of Charge!
If you are not bothered about walking the streets of Sweethaven and doing any of the things on offer at the attraction, you can visit for free. You could simply walk along the top of the cliff and view the whole of the village from above, taking your photographs as you do so. This is free to do. However, you will not actually be able to access the village without paying admission.
Want Help Planning Your Trip To Malta?
For help planning your trip to Malta. Check out my blog post on spending 3 days in Malta here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to visiting Popeye Village. I really enjoyed my time here and think it is such a unique experience. I was amazed by how well maintained the set is. I hope this inspires you to visit.
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