Discover Popeye Village the Film Set location of Popeye
Have you ever heard of Popeye Village? I’m sure the word “Popeye” comes to your mind. Probably from the Popeye Cartoon or Comic Strip or maybe the old film Popeye. Starring the actor Robin Williams as Popeye the Sailor Man and Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl.
Popeye the Sailor first appeared in the daily King Features comic strip, Thimble Theatre, in the year 1929. Later on, Popeye became more famous and appeared in comic books, television cartoons, arcade and video games.
It has appeared even in hundreds of advertisements, and peripheral products (especially his Spinach) In 2002, TV Guide ranked Popeye number 20 on its “50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time”
Popeye Village, also known as Sweethaven Village. It was built as a film set for the production of the 1980 live-action musical feature film Popeye, produced by Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions.
Today, converted into a small attraction fun park, consisting of a collection of rustic and ramshackle wooden buildings. It is open to the public as an open-air museum and sea-side resort. Located at Anchor Bay, 3 kilometers from the village core of Mellieħa, Malta.
It became one of Malta’s major tourist attractions. The film set constructed in Anchor Bay during the last 7 months of 1979. The village consists of nineteen wooden buildings.
Hundreds of logs and several thousand wooden planks from the Netherlands, rooftops imported from Canada. Eight tons of nails and 2.5 cubic meters of paint were also used in construction.
A closer look at the Village
Arriving at the village, we parked our rented car in front of a restaurant near the entrance of Popeye Village. We first then inquire about the entrance fee and finally, decided to do the tour.
Glancing from afar, you’ll definitely say that it’s the cutest town you’ve ever seen. But it is really a real village? Well, from its information it is, everything you’ll see here was built for the purpose of the film production.
Now, we are all set and ready to delve into this wonderful town!
The Tour Begins
Receiving our Popeye Village map, the Lady in the reception explained to us that we can visit the whole place spend up to 3 hours. There are tons of things to do. We can watch different shows like:
Puppet Show. Featuring five Popeye characters and the Puppet Master.
Popeye and his Friends. A play featuring some famous and not so famous singers.
Figaro. The barber of Sweethaven creates his miraculous and artistic hairstyles whilst singing happily to classical music.
Doctor Graves. Doctor Graves picks a member of the audience to try his experiment on.
Jerry Sprinjer Show. This performance investigates an old secret that has been lurking in Sweethaven.
However, not all these are available since it depends on the season.
Strolling in this charming village, you will see different houses including Popeye’s Cabin where you can see how Popeye lives and spends the day when he stays indoors. There’s Anchor Square, Anchorage Rest, Firehouse, Winery, Silversmith, Post Office and many more.
Silver Smith situated in the heart of Sweet haven, an option to enjoy some of the Island’s finest silver filigree works, in the name of Magro Brothers. This building used to house the Barber Shop.
Visiting the Houses
One of the houses shows about the history of Popeye, music instruments that are used, and as well as a short video clip of the film. You will also find various types of banners, magazines, pamphlets, stickers, frames, and photos of Popeye and his adventures.
Among other houses, we have also visited the comic museum where you can discover some of the most amusing Popeye memorabilia and go through the most vintage Popeye the cartoon comics. Over 200 comics on display, ranging from the years of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
Interesting part for those who love to learn about the history of Popeye its creator the cartoonist Elzie Crisler Segar. Other works of him are Charlie Chaplin’s Comic Capers, Barry the Boob, Looping the Loop, Thimble, Theatre (Popeye), and The Five-Fifteen (Sappo).
Segar is widely regarded as one of the most influential and talented cartoonists of all time, among the first to combine humor with long-running adventures. The National Cartoonists Society created the Elzie Segar Award in his honor.
According to the Society’s website, the award was “presented to a person who has made a unique and outstanding contribution to the profession of cartooning.”
Personally, I think it’s the most interesting place or shall I say entrance to see one of the most beautiful picturesque views of the village. There’s actually a photo booth in the right side as you can see and if you go straight just meters away you’ll find the interesting view of Anchor Bay.
Anchor Bay Lido
Going further, you will see this absolute crystal clear water of Anchor Bay. On the terrace/balcony of Anchor Bay Lido, you can relax and enjoy the mellow weather and incomparable view of Popeye Village.
In summer, visitors are allowed to plunge into the bay. So if you’re coming here in summer don’t forget to bring your swim wear and enjoy this place.
The park offers Boat Trip as well if the weather permits. it’s a twenty-minute boat trip around Anchor Bay where one can take photos of the beautiful scenery and see the Film Set from a sailors point of view.
The Best Anchor Bay View
Unfortunately, at that time we didn’t have a boat ride since the weather wasn’t that good. Maybe next time when we come back in summer there will surely be a ride.
Get to know more about the live-action film
As we enter the house one of the houses, Our attention entangled by the story of the pictures, equipment, props and the whole film-set of the film. The above photo interprets the part where Popeye fights Oxblood Oxheart (the local heavyweight boxer) won and gain the respect of the townsfolk.
To tell you a bit about the plot of the film. Popeye is a sailor who is in search of his father. He arrives in the small coastal town of Sweethaven, rented a room at the Oyl (Olives Family). Olive by then engaged to Captain Bluto (a powerful and perpetually angry bully).
Popeye feared by the townsfolk simply because he is a stranger, and is accosted by a greedy taxman. One day Popeye and Olive eventually come across an abandoned baby in a basket. Popeye adopts the child, naming him Swee’Pea, and the two return to the Oyls’ home.
Seeing This made Bluto furious, he then destroyed the house of the Oyls, beats Popeye into submission and declares heavy taxation for the Oyls.
Castor (Olives brother) decides to fight Oxheart in the hopes of winning a hefty prize for his family. But he was no match to the heavyweight.
Popeye then saves the Olys from their troublesome.
If you want to know more about the story I recommend you to watch the film!
One of the cuties parts was the Santa’s Toy Town. There, you’ll see the busy elves making toys for Santa to deliver on Christmas. It’s a fun way for not just kids but also adults to see the magical world of traditional Christmas in Popeye Village.
Houses were so colorful there’s even a violet one (my favorite). Inside the houses are tons of toys, statues, dolls, gift boxes, and a lot more of the elves stuffs.
Claiming our Free Stuffs
At this exact place, (Photobooth in the right) we had our photo shoot taken with the magical village view.
There were 3 things that you can claim: Free Glass of wine, 1 photo, and 1 postcard.
For the price that you paid it’s not that bad at all, anyways you’re also helping the attraction and the people who are working here.
After more than an hour of wandering, we’ve decided to take a break and claim our free wine. It was late in the afternoon, struggling to find the winery. In the end, we found it.
We claimed our respective wine and added an apple tart. And after that, we went to the souvenir shop and claim our 2 postcards. You can choose which one you like of course.
Lastly, we ended up our Popeye Village tour with the “Spectacle” in French it means a Show. So we watched our live show of Popeye and Olive and of course, let’s not forget Captain Bluto.
Minutes before we had our snacks, then we realize the time it was around 4:30 pm and there will be a show in the Main Square. We rushed up and went to the area and there we still caught up.
Main Square is actually where the Popeye Village hosts the major activities, such as ‘welcome shows’ and ’Take 2 Filming’. A passageway to this fantastic Village, offering 360-degree views of the whole location.
How to get to Popeye Village?
It’s about 25 kilometers away from the center of Valletta. You can drive towards Mellieha and follow the signs to Anchor Bay and Popeye Village.
It will take you more or less 40 minutes depending on the traffic.
Arriving at the area you will find a gravel car park which offers plenty of parking spaces and is wheelchair accessible.
Take any of the following buses to (Ghadira) Mellieha Bay or Cirkewwa: X1, X1A, 41, 42, 49, 101, 221, 222 or 250. From Ghadira Bay take the bus number 101 to Mgarr which stops at Popeye Village. A bus stop can be found just outside the premises.
This is the cheapest way to get to Popeye Village. Renting a car is good if you are used to driving on the left side of the road. Plus the routes are quite challenging to drive.
Transport is available and must be reserved via telephone at least a day in advance.
Transport fees – including return: Adults €6.50, Children under the age of 12: €5.50 and Children under the age of 2: Free.
It can be scheduled from any hotel in Malta. You can book at least 1 day in advance or call the office and they will inform the guest what time will pick up occur on the day of their visit. If you live in an apartment or other establishments, pick up will occur from the closest hotel or tourist attraction.
Wheelchair users and people with impaired mobility can be driven down to the film set to avoid the steep ramp. Suitcases and buggies can be left at reception to be kept in a store whilst one explores the film set.
Small dogs on leash are allowed to accompany their owner and water cups may be provided for them upon request.
Maps are available at reception to allow visitors to be able to explore the film set.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the premises for all our guests.
There are public toilets located in both the upper part and the lower part of the complex.
There’s a snack bar is available which has both indoor and outdoor. A small bar which serves as an ice-cream parlor, a cocktail bar and also serves small snacks.
Winter (Nov- Feb): 9:30am-4:30pm
Spring & Autumn (Mar- Jun, Sep-Oct): 9:30am-5:30pm
Summer (1st July – 31st August) 9.30am-7.00pm
Telephone Number: (+356) 2152 4782 / 3 / 4
Summer (June to mid-Oct) adults €14.50, Seniors & Children aged 3–12 €10.50
Spring, Fall & Winter (mid-Oct–May) adults €10.50, Seniors & Children aged 3–12 €8.50.
For more information about prices and other services
Visit Popeye Village’s Official Website
Discover Popeye Village the Film Set location of Popeye