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So in GoF, they state that Beauxbatons and Durmstrang are hidden from view and don't have their locations public.

“Durmstrang’s another wizarding school?” said Harry

“Yes,” said Hermione sniffily, “and it’s got a horrible reputation.

According to An Appraisal of Magical Education in Europe, it puts a lot of emphasis on the Dark Arts.”

“I think I’ve heard of it,” said Ron vaguely. “Where is it? What country?”

“Well, nobody knows, do they?” said Hermione, raising her eyebrows.

“Er — why not?” said Harry.

“There’s traditionally been a lot of rivalry between all the magic schools. Durmstrang and Beauxbatons like to conceal their whereabouts so nobody can steal their secrets,” said Hermione matter-offactly.

So how do students get to the other school for the Triwizard tournament?

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  • 2
    Surely, that means from the Muggles... They each knew how to get to Hogwarts after all...
    – Skooba
    Jun 9, 2016 at 20:34
  • @Skooba Karkaroff makes a comment about keeping and protecting their school's secrets. Although I don't think he is talking about their location.
    – TGnat
    Jun 9, 2016 at 20:46
  • 4
    Just because you do not know where something is, does not mean you do not know how to get there,
    – Skooba
    Jun 9, 2016 at 21:02
  • 1
    No, because they didn't use portkeys to get here, ey?
    – bleh
    Jun 9, 2016 at 21:18
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    If the locations are secret, one could infer that the headmaster/headmistress is a secret keeper for their whereabouts. The tri-wizard tournament is about uniting the wizarding community, so the trust of giving that secret to another headmaster seems in line with doing just that. Jun 10, 2016 at 20:27

3 Answers 3

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Hogwarts was just as concealed:

“But Hogwarts is hidden,” said Hermione, in surprise. “Everyone knows that . . . well, everyone who’s read Hogwarts, A History, anyway.”

“Just you, then,” said Ron. “So go on — how d’you hide a place like Hogwarts?”

“It’s bewitched,” said Hermione. “If a Muggle looks at it, all they see is a moldering old ruin with a sign over the entrance saying danger, do not enter, unsafe.”

“So Durmstrang’ll just look like a ruin to an outsider too?”

“Maybe,” said Hermione, shrugging, “or it might have Muggle-repelling charms on it, like the World Cup stadium. And to keep foreign wizards from finding it, they’ll have made it Unplottable —”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Nonetheless, the delegations from the foreign schools had no trouble finding it. One presumes that Dumbledore could make the location available to the students from Beaxbatons and Durmstrang, if need be. He certainly seems to be able to remove the protective spells around Hogwarts:

As they flew over the dark, twisting lane down which they had walked earlier, Harry heard, over the whistling of the night air in his ears, Dumbledore muttering in some strange language again. He thought he understood why as he felt his broom shudder when they flew over the boundary wall into the grounds: Dumbledore was undoing the enchantments he himself had set around the castle so they could enter at speed.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

A similar situation probably holds with Durmstrang and Beauxbatons: they can simply alter or remove their spells to allow in foreign students. In particular, given that the delegations only arrive on a single day, they would only need to lift their protective enchantments for a very short period.

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    Better than a short window being fully unprotected, perhaps they use two factor authentication. ;)
    – Wildcard
    Jun 10, 2016 at 3:30
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    @Wildcard It took place in the 90's, so I'm honestly surprised they even used one factor auth. :)
    – erip
    Jun 10, 2016 at 11:17
  • @Wildcard : based on how wizards think, it seems much more likely they just use some barely sentient magical animal or enchanted object to guard it, which can be easily circumvented by answering a riddle or by finding a very obvious weak point.
    – vsz
    Jun 10, 2016 at 14:23
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Durmstrang’s visitors agree to be charmed to forget the way to it.

Hosting people from other schools wouldn’t be a problem for keeping where Durmstrang is a secret. Visitors to Durmstrang have to agree to have memory charms used on them so they forget how they got there and its location remains secret. Visitors coming for the Triwizard Tournament would presumably also be required to agree to have memory charms used on them.

Although believed to be situated in the far north of Europe, Durmstrang is one of the most secretive of all schools about its whereabouts, so nobody can be quite certain. Visitors, who must comply with memory charms to erase their knowledge of how they got there, speak of vast, sprawling grounds with many stunning views, not least of the great, dark, spectral ship that is moored on a mountain lake behind the school, from which students dive in summertime.
- Durmstrang Institute (Pottermore)

It’s not mentioned how Beauxbatons controls what knowledge Triwizard Tournament visitors leave with, but this at least gives an idea what one of the participating schools handles this.

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    A very good find. You have my +1
    – Valorum
    Aug 28, 2018 at 18:48
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There are, according to Hermione, two layers of charms applied to the schools; Muggle-repelling charms and unplottability. The Muggle-repelling charms make the schools invisible to muggles, but not witches and wizards. The unplottability makes the school invisible to witches and wizards and prevents the school from showing up on maps.

Since students (and teachers) regularly leave Hogwarts and come back again, there must be some sort of loophole that allows those with the permission of the school's management to come and go without falling foul of the unplottability. It can be assumed that the Ministry of Magic would coordinate permission being given to delegates of foreign schools to see through the illusions and to come to the schools in the event of an international tournament.

Their locations may be a general sort of secret, but it beggars belief that after a thousand years, everyone in the wizarding world who needs to know where these schools are, doesn't actually know exactly where they are.

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  • What's your source that unplottable locations are also invisible?
    – OrangeDog
    Jun 10, 2016 at 8:45
  • @orangedog - Grimmauld Place, although that has a bunch of other charms on it as well.
    – Valorum
    Jun 10, 2016 at 9:28
  • @Valorum Grimmauld Place was invisible because of the Fidelius Charm, wasn't it? Hence why Harry could see it after the secret was shared with him. Jun 10, 2016 at 16:35
  • @mikekellogg - Good question, can't remember
    – Valorum
    Jun 10, 2016 at 16:36
  • From the quote in another answer, it sounds like Hermione is speculating. I'll freely admit that her speculations are likely to be correct, but the point needs to be made.
    – RDFozz
    Aug 28, 2018 at 22:09

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