Meet Popeye Village: The Whimsical Abandoned Movie Set

Malta is known for its transparent, turquoise waters and romantic cities overlooking the sea. What visitors might not know is than the 1980 film Popeye was shot in Malta, just south of Sicily, and the abandoned village is just waiting to be explored. Popeye Village — also known as Sweethaven Village — is located on Anchor Bay on the coast of Mellieha. It was the set of the 1980 live-action film about the spinach-eating, pipe-smoking sailor so many of us know and love. When construction began in 1979, logs were imported from Holland, and the shingles on the rooftops were imported all the way from Canada to create the 19 wooden buildings that make up the village. The creation of the massive film set required a construction crew of 165 people and 7 months of intensive work to complete. When filming of the movie, starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall, wrapped up, the village was abandoned. However, it wasn’t long before it was transformed from a neglected film set to a theme park fit for the whole family. Today, you can tour the village and check out the museum, which runs a short documentary about the filming of the movie. Then enjoy a drink at the winery, where you can admire the sea in all its shimmery blue splendor. For dinner, grab at bite to eat at Seafarers Bar and Restaurant in the park, followed by a 20-minute boat ride around Anchor Bay. It doesn’t matter if you grew up loving Popeye or have never even heard of him — Popeye Village will be a fun stop during your ocean escape in Malta.