Perched high on a spur, the village of Mellieha (Maltese for salt pans), overlooks the sweeping expanse of its bay and beach.

It is a busy shopping center with more character than the sprawling resorts to its east. The steep main street, lined with grocery shops, small bars and restaurants, caters for local residents as well as holidaymakers.

Besides hosting the largest sandy beach in Malta, Mellieha has a range of self-catering accommodation, including luxury villas (one area with sea views is known as The Millionaire’s Valley).

Popeye Village, (or Sweethaven) at Anchor Bay was built as the set for Robert Altman’s 1980 film, Popeye. The uninspiring ramshackle village by the sea consists of 17 houses, all made of wood imported from Canada and the Netherlands. Amenities include a souvenir shop, snack bar, beach facilities, a small fun park and a film about the making of Popeye. Boat trips are available during the summer at no additional charge.