Visiting the Kremlin, arguably the principal highlight in Moscow, can be daunting due to overcrowding, a couple of sites needing advanced tickets, and the language barrier. However, after two visits I can confidently declare that I have been able to figure out a way to maneuver through the Kremlin effortlessly following these 5 steps. It involves some advanced planning and an early start, but once you’ve decided that you can do both, your efforts will be rewarded with phenomenal views and extraordinary sightseeing at the top attraction in Moscow.
- Book your Armory Tickets a few weeks or months in advance. If you can book tickets as early as 10am, that would be preferred.
- On the day of your tour, arrive at the Kremlin ticket office no later than 930am. You will be greeted by long lines, but do not let that discourage you. You need not line up. Facing the ticket office, go around the corner to your left and there’s another entrance that will lead you to kiosks where you can purchase tickets for the Cathedral Square (Kremlin) using your credit card.
- After purchasing your tickets, line up at the Borovitsky Tower entrance which is at the far end of the complex. This entry way is nearest to the Armory.
- Tour the breathtaking Armory Museum. After completing it, backtrack to the entrance of the Armory to find the ticket office for the climb up at the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. This tower will provide you staggering views of the Kremlin and the Moscow Skyline. Purchase a ticket and take note of your time. If you have about an hour to kill before your scheduled ascent, ask the staff where the entrance to the Diamond Fund is. Purchase a ticket and tour the Diamond Fund. The Diamond Fund holds the seven most precious stones of Imperial Russia including the 190-carat diamond given to Catherine the Great by one of her lovers. Unfortunately, no pictures are allowed in both the Armory and Diamond Fund.
After finishing touring the jaw-dropping Diamond Fund, head out to the Cathedral Square. Depending on your extra time, you can either start touring the three basilicas in the vicinity before climbing up the Ivan the Great Bell Tower or vice versa.
The Basilicas in the Cathedral Square:
a. Archangel Cathedral – holds the tombs of Russian princes and emperors.
b. Annunciation Cathedral – has stunningly impressive frescoes.
c. Assumption Cathedral – the burial place of the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church.
d. Ivan the Great Bell Tower – for sweeping views of the Kremlin and downtown Moscow.
After successfully completing your tour at the Kremlin, you can loop around to the Red Square for superlative views of the landmark cathedral of St. Basil as well as have the opportunity to visit Lenin’s Mausoleum. Other notable structures around the Red Square include the GUM Shopping Center and the State History Museum.
Have you ever been to the Kremlin & the Red Square?