My daughter is doing a study abroad program in Alicante. I am meeting her middle of June in alicante. My thoughts are to travel to mallorca from alicante, then to barcelona, then madrid. Our total trip is only 12 days. Any advice?. Can we actually get a ferry from Alicante to Mallorca? Then once we are in Barcelona, what are the things not to miss? From Barcelona I have looked at renting a car, or taking the train. I want the best local experiences and don't want to miss the best sites. Please advise. And thank you in advance.
Train is faster from Barcelona to Madrid, about 2.5 hours, and there probably is not anywhere you need to stop along the way. If you are ready to book that ticket with an advance discount, your daughter can do it at her local train station or travel agency. From Alicante, I think you'll take a local tram up to Denia to catch a ferry. Find ferries at www.aferry.com or again through a travel agent near her. See http://www.ricksteves.com/europe/spain/barcelona for Rick's list of sightseeing priorities and video links.
Mallorca can be two nights, just be sure and dress appropriately when off the beach (recent news articles focus on residents wanting laws to require appropriate dress).
Barcelona has very nice beaches so if your heading to Mallorca just to be on the beach you could save money and time by heading to Barcelona. Barcelona can easily be a five day, or more, experience. Tons to do in Barcelona and great day trips, via train, available. Suggest you rent an apt to save money, have more space and a kitchen. Check out airbnb. Jump the ave to madrid for two nights and then spend a night in Toledo. Do not think you need a car to enjoy this trip and obtain the experiences you seek.