Without the high volume of tourism, your holiday money goes further in this area. Eating out is noticeably cheaper than the Greek islands, and sunbeds generally come free if you buy a drink.
Methoni’s Ottoman fortress is perched at the top of a rocky promontory, reached, just like a fairytale castle, by crossing a stone bridge. There are lots of lovely seashore tavernas in the village serving fresh seafood. Koroni’s Venetian fortress stands over a pebble beach where boats dock to bring in fresh fish for lunch. There’s also a small sand beach at the far end of the bay where the sea washing on both sides and rocks to scramble on provide the play area, while you enjoy views of the fort from your sunbed under palm fronds.
If ruins appeal, there’s Ancient Olympia to visit; also the Palace home of the 13th century BCE king, Nestor, and Ancient Messini, where you can still see the grooves worn by chariot wheels in the 4th century BCE.
Don’t miss: A family trip to horseshoe-shaped Voidokoilia beach on the west side, one of the most glorious and undeveloped beaches you will ever see. Its turquoise water is shallow for a long way out so good for tots and messing around on inflatables. It can get windy – so hog a spot by the rocks.
Where to stay: Good bases for a self-catering holiday are the small, quiet villages of Chrani and Petalidi, joined by a shingle bay halfway down the Eastern side of the finger.
Both have good quality tavernas, bars and mini markets, villas with private pools with expansive views across the gulf toward the Mani, and those rarities in Greece, power showers and mattress toppers.
Nearby, is the pristine beach of Episkopi, where trees are your parasols; empty barring a few locals at weekends. There’s a stream running into the beach, which provides hours of fun for little damming and netting enthusiasts.
Another good but busier base is Finikounda at the fingertip. This has a pleasant sandy beach, backed by tavernas and cobbled lanes of shops. Standing guard either side of Finikounda are the stunning fortress towns of Methoni and Koroni, where kids can model their sandcastles on the real thing, Castle Methoni, looming over the beach.
How to get there: From 6 July, direct flights from London to Kalamata will be available from £165.86 with easyJet
Travel time: 3 hours and 45 minutes direct to Kalamate International from where you can reach the resorts in under an hour