We've recently returned from a one month trip to Greece. We really enjoyed visits to the smaller villages along the southern coast - Gythio, Koroni, and Pylos in particular, but there are other villages as well! We had great places to stay (Las Hotel in Gythio, Pelagia Apartments in Koroni and Karalis Beach Hotel in Pylos.) The tavernas along the waterfront serve great food, there are lots of ruins to explore, and the people are welcoming and friendly. If the islands seem too crowded, this could be another option to consider!