Enter a world where fantasy meets reality: the original film set of the 1980 Popeye musical. If the Popeye movie starring the late Robin Williams was a flop, the theme park that emerged from the movie set certainly is not. Popeye Village Malta is now a permanent attraction complete with Popeye, Olive Oyl and the gang.
Welcome to Sweethaven village
The brightly coloured houses of Popeye’s village, Sweethaven, beckon you (and make for a great picture). It took longer to build the elaborate wooden structures from the late ’70s than to make the actual movie! The iconic comic character, Popeye the sailor, his beloved Olive Oyl and Popeye’s nemesis Captain Bluto welcome you with song and dance as you approach the village from the cliffs above. You’ll quickly find yourself in the day-to-day life and adventures of Popeye the sailor man.
As Popeye’s guests, visitors are welcome to Popeye’s own house. You can even check out the sailor’s private nook, with hammock hanging over his bed. The school, the firehouse, the dentist shop and the baker all depict life in Sweethaven village, just as they were in the 1980 musical movie.
But total immersion in the film Popeye is not limited to the movie location and the characters. While a 15-minute documentary about the original Popeye film and the building of the film-set shows continuously at the cinema, you can actually take part in a remake of the film on location. Be part of the cast and become a movie star for the day. Experience what it is like to plot the scenes, pick costumes, go through rehearsals and act in the film. Following the Premier, you can purchase your unique Popeye movie. What a great souvenir of your stint as a Hollywood idol to take home to your family and friends!
You can also get a memento from the souvenir shop. But first get inspired by the Popeye Comics Museum. It’s full of wonderful Popeye collectibles and memorabilia that have been collected throughout the years. And don’t forget to collect your free postcard when you’re at the Popeye cinema.
What else is there to do at Popeye Village Malta?
A variety of animation shows, access to Popeye’s Comic Museum, entrance to the cinema and making your own movie are only some of the things to do at Popeye Village Malta.
While your kids enjoy the company of Popeye and the gang with educational and creative games, you can take a shot at the nine-hole mini-golf, participate in a golfing tournament and take home a victory. The 15-minute free boat trip around Anchor Bay (weather permitting) will give the whole family a teeny taste of Popeye’s day sailing the high seas. Back ashore, enjoy more animation by the water and fun activities at the water park. Facilities include a pool, sunbathing decks and water trampolines.
Stop by the local silver smith and see a demonstration of how traditional silver filigree is made. Do take home some of this beautiful, authentic Maltese jewellery. Nip in to see the elves at work making toys at Santa’s Toy Town. When the cuddly polar bears are not about, you might meet Ricky the Easter rabbit or something unspeakably spooky during Halloween. Whether in season or out of season, join the festive cheer with free wine tasting at the winery. If you get peckish, grab a delicious snack from one of the food outlets.
About The Popeye Village Film Set
Site construction started in 1979 and it took seven months to build the 20 structures that would make up this authentic wooden village. Tree logs from Holland, wood shingles from Canada, eight tons of nails and 2,000 gallons of paint were all deposited in rock Anchor Bay, Mellieha, to create the set.
It took 165 people to construct the set for the 1980 Popeye musical film by Lions Gate Films, Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions. The popular cartoon character, Popeye the Sailor Man by Elzie Segar, began fifty years earlier, in 1929.
The set that survives as a legacy to the late Robert Altman, director; the film was produced by Robert Evans based on a story written by Jules Fieffer. The set is also responsible for the access road and breakwater.
Filming began on 23 January 1980. Robin Williams was Popeye and Shelley Duvall was Olive Oyl. Amassing just $60 million in the international box office, it wasn’t a success. But for many, it remains a much-loved film.
Tickets & Opening Hours
The Popeye Village opening hours are:
09:30-16:30 from November to March;
09:30-17:30 from April to June, September and October;
09:30-19:00 in July and August.
Tickets for the original Popeye’s Village Malta are available at the gate. The maximum entrance fee is €15.00 for adults and €12.00 for children (3-12 years); tickets are cheaper in winter. All visitors get a complimentary welcome drink.
Where to stay around Popeye Village Malta?
Looking for vacation rentals or a hotel around the Popeye Village? Stay at the five-star Azure Golden Sands Resort & Spa for hotel accommodation and apartments that will exceed all expectations. The resort is located at the charming Golden Bay beach, just 22 minutes away from the theme park by public transport service. It offers the perfect combination of get-away-from-it-all seclusion with easy access to all the fun things a tourist might enjoy during a trip to the Maltese Islands. Quite simply, it is the perfect place to be.