Today, you'll find charming villages built into the imposing cliffs, blue-domed churches and traditional Cycladic architecture. By combining the best of a cosmopolitan city with the laid-back island lifestyle, everyone from newlywed couples to multi-generational families will instantly fall in love with Santorini.
The number one thing to do in Santorini is to walk around the caldera edge, taking in the wonderful views from Fira, Imerovigli and beyond. Covering 9km and taking around 4 hours, it's certainly a challenge but no doubt a rewarding one. Watching the sunset from Oia is also one of the island's biggest draws, with spectactors known to applaud this daily natural masterpiece.
Though you'll feel like you're living in your own movie with a Santorini villa holiday, you won't regret a trip to Kamari Open Air Cinema, which screens Hollywood blockbusters in English for all to enjoy.
Other popular activities include taking a boat tour to the volcano, allowing you to hike up and see the craters for yourself before having a dip in the hot springs. Some itineraries may even take you to neighbouring islands, but however you choose to spend your time in Santorini, it will undoubtedly all come back to the water.
By its very nature of being an island, Santorini has ample access to fresh seafood, so we'd always suggest sampling the catch of the day. However, there are also many meat-based dishes to sample, like apochti (salted, air-dried pork loin) and classic moussaka.
Off meat? Never fear: saganaki will lead to the best dairy-induced dreams. This fried cheese gets covered with filo pastry before being drizzled with honey, leading to a wonderful sweet-salty contrast. However, it's fava that serves as Santorini's most iconic dish, mashing yellow split peas into a comforting, creamy side dish.
Santorini is also home to some of the most delicious tomatoes, incorporated into small fried fritters known as keftedes. Also sourced from the local land, white eggplant is widely available, boasting a sweeter flavour than traditional varieties.
And for dessert, hit up a family-owned bakery for kopania - small sweets made using powdered barley rusks, sesame seeds and raisins.