Thanks for you take look on my questions,
I plan arrive to Madrid on Feb 7th and will back to my hometown by Feb 20th, so I have total 13 days in Spain, I want visit Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Santiago, if possible still want to stop by Lisbon.
first question, except the citys I listed, is there any funny place or beautiful city I should visit?
second question, I take that trip by myself, which is more convenience between by train or by car?
third question, is english work in everywhere or spanish is necessary?
fourth question, any other tips ?
Thank you for your guidence and welcome to join my trip~
So you're going to be all over Spain, literally. And when you said Santiago, I assume you mean Santiago de Compostela. That's in the north-west, whereas Barcelona would be on the complete opposite direction in the north-east. Madrid in the centre of Spain, whereas Sevilla in the south. These alone will take up all your 13 days quite easily. I don't see how you'll be able to squeeze in Lisbon (Portugal) as well.
1. There are plenty of beautiful places to go e.g. Granada, Jaen etc but you won't have time to add more places.
2. With such long distances between cities, particularly as you're on your own, go with a train. Otherwise you're going to be so tired from all the driving.
3. You won't have time to work in that small time frame. Even if you do have time, unless you're at one of the seaside resorts where there are plenty of English-speaking expats, you'll need to know Spanish. Even in Madrid, the capital, there are limited number of English speakers so if you don't know any Spanish, you'll be in for a hard time. Not to mention, you don't have the right papers to work.
4. You should carefully consider your itinerary and how you're going to sort the route without too much backtracking. Otherwise you could spend a lot of time just getting from one place to another.
It’s a little bit of a trek, but I would think about heading down to the Costa del Sol. My family traveled to Estepona a few years ago and I still dream about it! Some parts are a little touristy and built-up but the scenery, food, people and beaches are well worth it. There’s also a lot to see there; Gibraltar is very cool. And my family also took the ferry to Morocco for the weekend.
As far as your language question is concerned, I don’t speak Spanish and got around just fine. And I agree with lil_lil; a train is the best bet for getting around.
Have a great trip!
As an American who has traveled extensively in Spain and who also loves to move around fast, I have to say that you are going to short change yourself by doing so much in so little time.
Since it is so cheap to fly to Barcelona & Madrid from the States (comparitively), pick a region now and go back another time.
Personally, I feel the best use of your time is to fly into Madrid (the top destination). Incredible everything (especially, food, people, beer and museums)!
Segovia, due west of Madrid, is a can't miss day-trip for several reasons and if you go early enough you can hit the Civil War memorial (Valle de los Caidos) built on the eastern slope of the mountain pass. It was ordered by Franco and built buy thousands of political prisoners and as such is hated by Spaniards, but as a historical artifact it is well worth seeing.
I'd give Madrid at least four days.
Then hit Sevilla, which is astonishing and worth a couple days.
Rent a car in Sevilla and drive down to Rhonda early in the morning. Spend a few hours wandering the Old Town and visiting the very famous Bullring. Then get back in the car and drive due west to Arcos de la Frontera! Man, I love this place! Spend a night or two here. Ideally, get a B&B built into the cliff, there are a few, and waking up in the morning to that view is amazing!
Then either return to Sevilla or head to Cadiz. OR switch the visit, Arcos first (but stay there) and then Rhonda and drive onto Cordoba and stay there a couple nights.
Personally, I found Costa Del Sol to be one big British tourist trap. Especially Marbella. I did enjoy an afternoon in Tarifa (due south of Arcos) where I went whale watching.
Keep in mind Vueling Airlines has flights all over Spain for literally a few bucks if you plan ahead of time. I've flown it all over and they are a wonderful airline. As a result, I would fly from Sevilla or Malaga (Cordoba) to Barcelona for three days.
Where Madrid feels incredibly unique and Spanish, Barcelona is more cosmopolitan and feels more like a New York or London. FUN FUN FUN city with amazing cultural aspects. I took a day-trip through to the old city of Girona and was a little disappointed. Skip it if you don't have the time. instead take a day to hit all the Goudy buildings. And if you miss the experience that is the Vasa De Oro tapas bar in Barceloneta, you'll be very sorry!
Personally I think Portugal, Santiago, A Coruna, Bilbao and San Sebastian are a separate (but great) trip.
I recommend you take a high speed train (AVE) to go from Madrid to Toledo. It takes just half an hour. Toledo is an incredible town where you can find old buildings from differents cultures: Romans, Visigoths, Muslims, Jews and Christians ....Toledo is also an Unesco World Heritage Site. You will enjoy it!