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As the question title says, what's the fastest way to travel in the Harry Potter universe?

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    Time Traveling to a day before, then taking a buss/plane to the destination. – Rick Sanchez Sep 14 '14 at 17:56
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In the order of increased fastness:

  • Floo network:

    Definitely not instantaneous, but pretty fast:

    'But don't panic and get out too early, wait until you see Fred and George.' (CoS)

  • Portkey:

    Seems to be a couple of seconds:

    It happened immediately: Harry felt as though a hook just behind his navel had been suddenly jerked irresistibly forwards. His feet had left the ground; he could feel Ron and Hermione on either side of him, their shoulders banging into his; they were all speeding forwards in a howl of wind and swirling colour; his forefinger was stuck to the boot as though it was pulling him magnetically onwards and then –
    His feet slammed into the ground; Ron staggered into him and he fell over; the Portkey hit the ground near his head with a heavy thud. (GoF)

  • Apparition:

    This seems the fastest subjectively, but of course, given overall JKR Maths proficiency, she wasn't as precise as one would have preferred for numerical comparisons:

    Harry felt Dumbledore's arm twist away from him and redoubled his grip; the next thing he knew, everything went black; he was being pressed very hard from all directions; he could not breathe, there were iron bands tightening around his chest; his eyeballs were being forced back into his head; his eardrums were being pushed deeper into his skull and then –
    He gulped great lungfulls of cold night air and opened his streaming eyes.

    and

    Twycross stepped forwards, turned gracefully on the spot with his arms outstretched and vanished in a swirl of robes, reappearing at the back of the Hall. 'Remember the three Ds,' he said, 'and try again... one – two – three –'


Also, there are two more ways to travel near-instantaneously:

  • Vanishing cabinet. We don't know how fast it transports you or if it's using one of the 3 methods above (no canon info), but presumably it's as fast as the other methods.

  • As @Kushtrim P. noted in a comment, you can use time-turner+normal travel method (your speed of spacial travel may be as slow as you want, but absolute arrival time is arbitrarily small due to temporal displacement). That is indeed a very well known method of travel in Science Fiction.

  • Apparation should be slower than a portkey because as mentioned with the use of a portkey you're instantly suck to the other linked area(wormhole possibly). While apparation as seen in the movies requires travel time from your current location to your destination(really fast but not instantaneous), which would be slower than a port key. – Lavenchi Sep 15 '14 at 5:42
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    Add brooms, too. :) – Baby Yoda Sep 15 '14 at 11:19
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    @Lavenchi - the fact that movie director made up some non-canon fact for improved visual impression doesn't really matter to analyzing facts within canon. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Sep 15 '14 at 14:48
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There are two distinct methods of teleportation in the Harry Potter universe: apparition, and using a portkey.

A portkey takes longer to setup, but once it's ready, all the traveller needs to do is grab it.

Apparition has no setup time, but does need a spell and concentration.

So depending on whether you want to include the setup time and/or the time needed to cast a spell, it can be either of those.

  • You've forgotten Floo Network. And, I want more than hand waving answer. – Baby Yoda Sep 14 '14 at 6:25
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    Hand waving answer? What exactly do you mean? – Thaddeus Howze Sep 14 '14 at 6:37
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    @Thaddeus - I'm guessing he wants to know at what MPH each system of travel moves at, complete with maximum safe and theoretical speeds. – Valorum Sep 14 '14 at 7:19
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    I thought about the floo network, but I think I remember that Harry experienced some time passing during traveling. If you want more precise information, perhaps one of the HP experts can quote the parts where Harry experiences each mode of travel, so perhaps we can learn something from it about the timing. – SQB Sep 14 '14 at 7:37
  • also, distance is counted. you cant apparate too far like a different continent. so they need to do part by part. but is it the same with portkey? or can we go long distances with one portkey action? – Dev Sep 24 '16 at 9:15
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All of the answers contain Apparition, Portkeys, and the Floo.

However, we have forgotten the Phoenix. We see Dumbledore vanishing with Fawkes during Order of the Phoenix, and since Phoenixes are Ultra-Magical, I assume that such travel is as fast as, if not faster than, Apparition.

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    "Ultra-Magical" - what? Where is that coming from? And how do you know a phoenix can be faster than apparition? For all we know both are near-instantaneous. – Gallifreyan Sep 30 '17 at 11:53
  • @Gallifreyan Doesn't Dumbledore say that in the Chamber of Secrets? And there was a point made about apparition being not as fast as they said, in another answer, I believe – MalayTheDynamo Sep 30 '17 at 15:13

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