In the early 1990’s I visited Malta for the first time, going on a summer vacation with my parents. The Popeye Village was already a key tourist attraction at that time. For the 1980 movie starring Robin Williams as Popeye, they needed a place to put up the village of Sweethaven. Finally, the production went for the bay on the Northern edge of Malta main island. The place is still existing today, turned into a kind of amusement park – and was still a key attraction of Malta when I visited the country again in Easter 2022. Here is my review.
Popeye Village – Location & Admission
Popeye Village is located rather closely to the Northwest tip of Malta main island. Thus, the place might be a good option to visit when you go for the Gozo ferry, for example. We went to the former movie scene by rental car and used their free parking. There are also many tours to Popeye Village, some people also walked from the beach city of L-Ghadira, which is well connected to the public bus system. On the opposite side of the bay, there is also a popular viewpoint (for free), which we forgot to visit.
Popeye Village has some seasonal opening times. They also adopt their service due to the time of year. For example during our visit at the Easter holidays, there was an egg hunt for the kids. Typical daily opening times are 10:30 to 17:30, but please check their website before visiting. We paid 15 Euro per adult. You can spend as much time as you like in the park. The admission includes a bag of popcorn in the cinema and a free souvenir postcard. Kids also get a souvenir picture.
Popeye Village – The Village
In general, the Popeye Village is still very close to the state they used it as a movie scene. I was overall very surprised about the good maintenance condition of the place, the management indeed feels to invest quite a lot of effort in conserving their asset. The parking lot is located on the top of the cliff, so that you first walk down to the in-fact village. There is a lot you can spot – also small stories and small exhibits located in the gardens or windows of the houses. You really feel like stepping into the world of one of the most famous sailors in entertainment history – I liked it.
Of course, the interiors of the building have partially been re-branded. There are stores with local craft, but also a lot of exhibits and places built around the movie. You can visit a small Popeye Comic Museum or have a dedicated exhibition telling stories about and around the movie. One thing I liked was visiting the house of Olive Oyl, which is having a lot of cute design elements.
Just an Amazing Scenry
Enjoying the view of the bay, especially from the edge of the village, is definitely one of the best things to do in Popeye Village. As far as I understand, you may also use the bay for swimming as a Village guest in summer. My wife and I just loved to look through a lot of windows or have a look behind the houses’ doors.
The in fact harbor area at beach level really feels like an old, a bit of traditional and slightly run-down fishermen’s place. Without having a boat ride or enjoying the beach, you might easily spend two hours in the village. If you like to see all the shows or have some games with your kids (see below), this may even increase to three to four hours.
Popeye Village – Services & Shows
The staff was super-friendly. There were minor shows during our visit. In addition, Popeye Village had organized an Easter Egg Hunt during the time we visited. There is also a parade, which we just missed due to timing issues. The cinema of the village shows snippest of the Popeye movies (don’t forget to grab your popcorn). This unique attraction really also tries to have that amusement park-alike character. You may, for example, battle your family in a basic minigolf place as well.
Of course, there are food places and stores, where you can support Popeye Village with some additional credit card swipes for a souvenir. I felt that some of the stuff was really cute. The only part of our visit which felt a bit too authentic for an old fishers’ place were the rather basic toilets.
Popeye Village – My View
There are some downsides of visiting Popeye Village, like the rather poor toilets or the fact that the place is not overwhelmingly large. However, this unique and somehow obscure place is driven with a lot of love. Popeye Village creates magic, not only at very young visitors (who at least don’t know the movie anyway…). If you are on Malta, I feel you should add this one to your bucket list. It might feel like tourist scam if you have a first look, but it is nice entertainment at an amazing place finally.
Malta on Flyctory
Here are all my postings related to Malta:
Amusement Parks – More Postings
Here are all postings about Amusement Parks: