Built for the popular 1980s musical ‘Popeye’, the brilliant Popeye Village theme park is on the northeastern coast of Malta, a beautiful Mediterranean island between Sicily and Tunisia. Also called the Danish Village or the Sweethaven Village, this family attraction is open seven days a week, all year round, and offers the perfect day out for the young, and the young at heart!
The story behind Popeye Village
Popeye the Sailor Man was originally a cartoon character, invented by American cartoonist Elzie Segar and first appearing on the Thimble Theatre comic strip in 1929. In the musical comedy film, Popeye arrives in the port of Sweethaven to look for his father, who left him when he was a baby. Although the townsfolk fear him initially, he falls for a girl named Olive Oyl, and raises a baby, Swee’Pea, whom he found abandoned. But all is not well in Popeye’s world, and an evil man by the name of Bluto captures Olive and Swee’Pea, forcing Popeye to rescue them. In order to fight Bluto and save them, he needs his magic spinach to become big and strong.
The history of the set
The original film set was made in Anchor Bay in 1979, and included huge trunk logs delivered from The Netherlands, and wood shingles from Canada. The set, which went live in January 1980, also needed 2,000 gallons of paint and eight tons of nails! The whole thing was created by 165 crew members. Fans of the film will remember that Popeye was played by Robin Williams, who was one of Hollywood’s most loved comedians and actors.
What to see and do at Popeye Village
Have a look at Popeye’s cabin, visit the anchor lodge, see the Olive House, then head to the Popeye Comic Museum to learn about the history and evolution of this beloved character. Enjoy a tasty family lunch at the Seafarers Restaurant (including spinach!), then visit the souvenir shop where you can find some great Popeye memorabilia and gift items to take home with you.
More things to do
Visit the tipsy and son’s winery, where you can enjoy a free wine punch on the front terrace while you admire wonderful views of Anchor Bay. Or head to the Schoolhouse Info room, where you’ll learn about all the music pieces that were used in the film, then visit the Silversmith to see some of Malta’s best silver filigree works. Afterwards, relax on the sunbathing deck, have a go on the water trampoline, take a boat ride, or go to Santa’s toy town to watch the elves prepare children’s toys for Christmas.
Perfect for special events
If you’re visiting Malta in Easter, come to Popeye Village to meet Rickey the rabbit, or visit in Halloween when the village will be full of spooktacular surprises! Then there’s the carnival, one of Malta’s most important annual events, when you can expect dazzling costumes and plenty more fun and games for the whole family.
Popeye Village is also an ideal setting for children’s parties and other special occasions such as weddings or corporate events. If you’re interested in having a private event here, it’s a good idea to book well in advance to ensure you get the time and date you want.
How to get to Popeye Village
Popeye Village is about 3km from the village of Mellieha, and can be reached via private transfer from any hotel, as long as you book at least a day in advance. By car, you can follow the signs to the Popeye Village as you drive towards Mellieha. Or, you can take bus 101 from Ghadira Bay to Mgarr, which stops at Popeye Village on the way. If you prefer, you can also book a taxi back to your accommodation from the Popeye Village reception.
Because most of the Popeye Village film set is outdoors, you’re strongly recommended to apply sun cream before you arrive, especially in summer. This attraction also includes lots of stairs and steep ramps, which may not be suitable for people with mobility problems. However, wheelchair users and people with limited mobility can be driven to the film set, and you can also store prams and other large items in the reception while you explore the attraction.
Other family attractions in Malta
In summer, one of the best places to cool off in Malta, other than the sea, is the Splash & Fun Water Park, which has a lazy river, big water slides, a black hole, a dive pool, and other adrenaline-boosting attractions. Or, for something different, visit the Mediterraneo Marine Park, where you’ll be able to see dolphins, sea lions and other aquatic species.
Another attraction that’s definitely worth a visit is the Playmobile Fun Park at Ħal Far Birżebbuġa, where children will have the opportunity to interact with some fantastic Playmobile play-sets and toys.
Historic sites in Malta
See Malta’s incredible Megalithic Temples, explore the 16th century Baroque cathedral of St John’s, or have a wander round the underground burial chambers of Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum, which are believed to date back around 6,000 years. You could also visit the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta, where you’ll see preserved sculptures, weapons and other fascinating artefacts dating from the colonial era to prehistoric times.
Hop on a ferry to Gozo, where you can find other ancient ruins, the 18th century Ta’ Kola Windmill, an archaeology museum, and the 16th cenutry Gran Castello Historic House.
Weather and climate in Malta
Malta is famous for its very high sunshine hours; the island receives more than 3,000 hours per year, which is over twice the average of most areas of Northern Europe! From June to September, temperatures range from around 28 to 32°C by day, and rarely fall below the early 20s°C at night between July and September.
In these months, it’s warm enough to stay outdoors after dark, and during the hottest part of the day many people cool off in the sea or in their hotel swimming pool. In winter, daytime temperatures are generally in the mid to upper teens, which is more like what you’d expect in southern England in late spring. Clearly, this is still warm enough for enjoying attractions like Popeye Village, too!