“Surprisingly brilliant” – Don’t Stop Living.
As a long term tourist with an eye for the obscure I heard about a “Popeye Village ” on the island of Malta so I decided to backpack it. I spent 6 days in Malta and bunged a lot in, during my first and to date only trip to the country. I managed to tour Comino Island, Gozo Island and visit a huge chunk of the main Malta island, including watching two football matches, visiting some World Heritage Sites, a couple of nights in the bars of Valletta and the British Hotel, plus two nights in Sliema and Paceville. On top of this I backpacked another country and the ONLY UN recognised country with no land – I whackpacked the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Some photos before we head to Popeye Village!
Getting to Popeye Village in Malta
I had a weekly bus pass for 21 Euros (a Tallinja card which I recommend), which covers the whole island of Malta, and Gozo. The stop you need for Popeye Village is called Popeye and is served by bus number 101 which goes all the way to Mgarr. To get the bus number 101, you’ll use buses X1, X1A, 41, 42, 49, 101, 221, 222 and 250. All of those buses lead to Mellieha (Ghadira) Bay or Cirkewwa. Popeye Village is also called Anchor Bay. You could walk it too, but I advise getting the 101 bus. Get a Malta bus map once you arrive in the country.
Entrance to Popeye Village in Malta
Entrance to Popeye Village costs 14.50 Euros as of October 2017. For this price you get entrance to the village, access to all shows, entry to the private beach and swimming area, a free Popeye Wine Cocktail from the bar, a free postcard and a boat cruise out to the clear blue waters, rocks and caves. You also get your map, which is VERY important and useful. There are 38 points to visit on it, and if you do it like I did, you can easily see them all in just a few hours. I guess it depends how much into Popeye you are, hardcore fans may take a full day out here – for me 2 – 3 hours sufficed.
Top Sights in Popeye Village
In terms of sights, your guide map should be perfect to ensure you see everything. There are 38 points on that but I will condense them into my top 10, it’s easier. I visited them all but some of the 38 are things like toilets and the ticket booth and visitor’s booth. Actually I didn’t visit all 38 as 3 of them are toilets and I only took one wee wee (piss) so I only really backpacked 36/38! You only need a couple of hours here to backpack everything – really – it’s not a full day out! These were my top sights when backpacking Popeye Village, make sure you get your three freebies – the ticket includes them!
1.Photo With Popeye
I wanted a photo with Popeye and it wasn’t too busy so I just asked him. He won’t always be there though as there are sometimes shows on and events so catch him while you can. I got my photo with him outside the souvenir shop.
2.Souvenir Shop / General Store
Make sure you head into the souvenir shop for your FREE postcard. Have a look around too, but I wanted the freebie.
3.View from the Hill
For me the viewpoint at the top of the hill on the way down was superb, you get to see the entire village and it looked superb that day in the Malta summer sunshine.
I hate films and rarely watch them but I popped (pun intentional) into the Popeye Cinema just to watch a wee bit of Popeye the Movie. Predictably Popeye movies are shown here at all times when the village is open. It’s number 8 on your guidemap and known as “Comic Museum”.
I never found out the name of the main street, or even if it had a name, but I backpacked the whole way down it to the end, and checked out every building. If this was a country, Main Street would be the capital so I wanted to see it. It’s basically just one long street and was of course used in the making of the Popeye movies.
6.Popeye Post Office
I always love to send postcards on my travels and look out for new stamps. While in Malta, I was able to send my brother postcards and stamps from two countries:
(1) – Malta
(2) – Sovereign Military Order of Malta
However the Post Office in Popeye Village doesn’t permit real stamps, but it’s all a bit of fun I guess. It’s a striking white and blue building.
7.Popeye and Olive Oil’s House
Right at the end of the Main Street sits Olive Oil’s House. This was Popeye’s girlfriend and the place they relaxed in.
All along the main street are various shops and houses from the movies. Not all are open and all have some kind of part to play in the history of it. I checked out all of them and put just the Silversmith’s Shop on this list. It was the most interesting for me. The ladies there sell genuine jewellery so this is actually in theory a fully functioning real street despite also being a film set. This kind of makes the entrance charge a tad disappointing as we are paying for the privilege to backpack down a street!
Your ticket also includes one boat cruise so again make sure you don’t miss it. Head to location 23 on your guide map and wait for the next boat cruise. It only lasts around 20 – 30 minutes as I recall and takes you out to truly gorgeous ocean blue waters and some caves by the Maltese coast. Splendid.
10.On the Rip in Popeye Village: Seafarers Bar and Restaurant
After backpacking hardcore through Popeye Village, you’ll want an ice cold drink and a bar to relax in. There are a few bars in the Popeye Village so realistically you could pub crawl it. However your entry fee includes a free wine punch at location 25 – Seafarers Bar and Restaurant so head there for a tasty wine/cocktail punch drink. It’s free but it was good! As a bonus point, they have Wi-Fi and are on Instagram and Facebook!
So all in all a super top 10 and to be truthful, this place surprised me. I loved it. Which really goes against theme parks, which I normally tried to avoid, but really – this one is brilliant, and I will try and visit a few more places like this. It reminded me that I had been to the following film and TV sets on my long backpacking stints yet never wrote about all of them…
Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland (Game of Thrones)
Munich, Germany (Charlego and the Chocolate Factory)
Santa Monica Boulevard, USA (Many movies)
Wall Street, USA (Wall Street)
Petra, Jordan (Indiana Jones)
Oil Fields, Azerbaijan (The World Is Not Enough)
Ta Promb, Cambodia (Tomb Raider)
Pin Oak Cort, Melbourne, Australia (Neighbours)
And some more photos from my time backpacking in Malta checking out the Top 10 Sights In Popeye Village. I had fun.
Here are some videos of my time backpacking in Popeye Village: