We know that most students get to Hogwarts by train, and that Harry Potter and Ron Weasly arrived by flying car, but are there other ways to get to the school?
For a castle so well protected by ancient charms, there are many ways to get in!
Honeydukes cellar to the witch with the hump in Hogwarts (PoA)
Shrieking Shack to the Whomping Willow (PoA)
Other paths now caved in or known by Filch (PoA)
Route students regularly take to get to and from Hogsmeade on days out.
The Hogs Head secret path to the Room of requirement behind Ariana(DH)
Via Forbidden Forest
Mr Crouch in Goblet of Fire, under the imperius curse, stumbles in through the forest (GoF).
Hagrid escaping after failing probation under Umbridge rule (OoTP)
Hagrid bringing in Grawp to the Forbidden Forest and thus access to Hogwarts (OoTP)
Via Knight Bus
- Just outside the school gates (Order of the Phoenix)
Via Floo Power
- Specially arranged to return Harry and Weasleys after Christmas (HBP)
Madame Maxine and the Beauxbaton Delegation (Goblet of Fire)
Fred and George Weasley flying away after creating a swamp in a corridor(OOTP)
Dumbledore and Harry flying in on brooms after getting the fake horcrux (Half Blood Prince, although Dumbledore added charms this year due to the increased danger that he had to unlock on the way back)
Thestrals in the forest flying out (OoTP)
Friends of Charlie Weasley fly to the highest tower to get Norbert (PS)
When Sirius escaped riding on BuckBeak (PoA)
Karkaroff and the Durmstrang delegation arriving via ship/submarine (GoF)
Boats that take the first years in (PS)
Via Walk from Hogwarts Express terminating station
- Harry had to walk with Tonks on the route the Threstrals usually pull carriages of students after arriving from Kings Cross (HBP)
- The cupboard/Vanishing Cabinet used to get Death Eaters in that Draco was repairing throughout book 6 (HBP)
- Not too sure about the extent and range of Fawkes powers, but he seemed to be able to send Molly Weasley messages, and took Dumbledore away (destination unknown) (OoTP)
Used to get Harry and Weasleys out at Christmas (OoTP)
Used to get Harry back to Hogwarts after ministry fight (OoTP)
Used to deliver Harry for use in Voldemort's resurrection spell, and again by Harry to escape back to Hogwarts with Cedric's body (GoF)
Any extras are welcome :)
From JK Rowling's Pottermore article on the Hogwarts express (emphasis mine):
As we know from early historical accounts, and from the evidence of early woodcuts and engravings, Hogwarts students used to arrive at school in any manner that caught their fancy. Some rode broomsticks (a difficult feat when carrying trunks and pets); others commandeered enchanted carts and, later, carriages; some attempted to Apparate (often with disastrous effects, as the castle and grounds have always been protected with Anti-Apparition Charms), others rode a variety of magical creatures.
In spite of the accidents attendant on these various modes of magical transport, not to mention the annual Muggle sightings of vast numbers of airborne wizards travelling northwards, it remained the responsibility of parents to convey their children to school, right up until the imposition of the International Statute of Secrecy in 1692. At this point, it became a matter of urgency to find some more discreet method of transporting hundreds of wizarding children from all over Britain to their secret school in the Highlands of Scotland.
Portkeys were therefore arranged at collecting points all over Britain. The logistics caused problems from the start. [...] While admitting that Portkeys were not an ideal solution to the problem of school transportation, the Ministry of Magic failed to find an acceptable alternative. A return to the unregulated travel of the past was impossible, and yet a more secure route into the school (for instance, permitting a fireplace that might be officially entered by Floo powder) was strongly resisted by successive Headmasters, who did not wish the security of the castle to be breached.
A daring and controversial solution to the thorny problem was finally suggested by Minister for Magic Ottaline Gambol, who was much intrigued by Muggle inventions and saw the potential in trains.
In the books, we see the following:
This is the obvious one, since Harry takes the Hogwarts Express for five of the six years he attended Hogwarts.
As seen in Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron used the Weasleys' flying car.
In Order of the Phoenix, Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys take the Knight Bus from Grimmauld Place back to Hogwarts after the Christmas holidays. Technically this took them to Hogsmeade, but I'd say that's close enough to count since that's where the Hogwarts Express stops too.
In Order of the Phoenix, a Portkey is used to transport Harry and the Weasleys from Dumbledore's Office to Grimmauld Place, and another one is used to transport Harry from the Ministry of Magic back to Hogwarts after Dumbledore's duel with Voldemort.
In Order of the Phoenix it's shown that Hogwarts is connected to the Floo network, though I'm not sure anybody actually uses that to travel to or from Hogwarts.
Harry and Dumbledore Disapparate from Hogsmeade (see the Knight Bus entry on "close enough") to the Cave containing the locket Horcrux, and back again.
Flying (Broomstick and Thestral)
Harry and co use a combination of broomstick and Thestral to fly from Hogwarts to the Ministry of Magic; there's no reason they couldn't have used the Hogwarts Thestrals to find their way back again if necessary. Dumbledore travels halfway to the Ministry of Magic from Hogwarts (presumably by Thestral) in Philosopher's Stone, then returns to Hogwarts (presumably the same way).
Hogsmeade, the town outside the castle, is just a normal town. It just happens to be far enough from (muggle) civilization that they don't need to worry about them.
Ways used that I recall off the top of my head (in no particular order):
- To Hogsmeade:
- Hogwarts Express
- Knight bus
- Hogsmeade -> Hogwarts
- Walking (obviously)
- First-year boats
- Thestral-drawn carriage
- Secret passages (at least 3 used in the books)
- Flying car
- Flying carriage
- Magic submarine-ship
- Floo powder