No one speaks English, it's amazingly cheap and Barcelona's not that dodgy.
Madrid is a mix of old and new; high culture and fun.
Cordoba is overshadowed by Seville and Granada, but was once Europe's cultural and intellectual epicentre.
Once a Jesuit monastery, this is now a luxurious Relais & Chateaux stay.
As a short-term tourist you can very easily ignore a place's shortcomings and convince yourself that you're in paradise, but as a long-term resident you have to face up to the inevitable faults.
Of course, there's the Alhambra, but there's much more to this Andalusian city.
At Bar Rocardo in Gros, there's sawdust on the floor and precious few snacks on display in the cabinets.
Incredible art is placed front and centre on the Spanish stage, with architecture born from rebellious and creative spirits such as Dali, Picasso and Gaudi. Throw Roman ruins, Islamic architecture and gothic cathedrals into the mix, and you have an enthralling destination. Cities are linked by diverse landscapes; mountain ranges, Mediterranean coastlines, and rustic villages that cling to dusty hilltops, not to mention the food... oh the food.