The Moscow Kremlin, symbol of Russi! It’s the Kremlin’s wall that you can see on Red Square. The Red Square and the Moscow Kremlin are both listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We visited the Moscow Kremlin several times, with skip-the-line tickets and without, with my family, but also with my colleagues when I was living in Moscow.
Visit the Moscow Kremlin: tips and practical information
I will give here the key info to save time (and money) before the visit and once there:
- Map, how to get there, opening hours
- Entry tickets to the Kremlin and the Armoury Chamber, including skip-the-line entry tickets
- Guided tours
Map of the Moscow Kremlin, how to get there and opening hours
The Kremlin is large, so I have created a map to help you find your bearings which you will find below. If you are interested in other Moscow maps, find them in Free Moscow Maps.
How to get there? Where is the entrance to the Moscow Kremlin?
- The nearest metro station is Biblioteka Imeni Lenina (point 1 on the map) on the red line. On the other hand, even if we all have in mind, the image of the Kremlin on Red Square, the entrance is NOT located directly on the square. There is an entrance on the Red Square, but it is for stuff only.
- The entrance to the Kremlin is on another side of the Kremlin (point 3 on the map).
- Check also our blog post about Where to stay in Moscow? to be sure to stay in the most interesting districts of Moscow.
The Kremlin is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, except Thursday.
Good to know! It is not possible to enter the Kremlin territory with suitcases, bulky bags or animals. If you come with a suitcase anyway, there is a free concierge not far from the cash desks. The total dimensions must not exceed 150 cm (total, that is to say if we add the height, width and thickness). See the rules on the Kremlin website.
How to buy the entry tickets to visit Moscow Kremlin?
Several tickets. Later in the article I will describe in more detail what is behind the walls of the Moscow Kremlin, but we can already divide the Kremlin into several parts: the architectural ensemble of the Cathedral Square, the Armoury Chamber, the Diamond Fund and the Ivan-The-Great Bell Tower. There are entry tickets for each of these parts. So you have a choice. What is most visited is the architectural ensemble of the Cathedral Square.
Armoury Chamber. The number of entry tickets to the Armoury Chamber is limited, to make the visit more pleasant for visitors. As with the Cathedral Square, the entry tickets can be purchased online (see below). And I would recommend to buy tickets to the Armoury Chamber in advance.
There are two options for visiting the Kremlin without a guide: buy tickets in ticket offices once there OR then buy them on the Internet, then take them at the ticket offices on site with less queuing. On the other hand, if you want to have more information about the Kremlin, a guided tour can be interesting: skip-the-line, accompaniment and not necessarily expensive for many.
Buy tickets for the Kremlin on site
The ticket offices are open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day, except Thursday. They are located in the Alexandrovsky Garden which runs along the walls of the Moscow Kremlin (point 2 on the map above). It is possible to pay by bank card or in cash (rubles). See the post How to pay in Russia ?, if you need more info.
|The pros||The cons|
|Admission is free for children under 16, but with a compulsory ticket at the ticket office to obtain the free entry coupon.||However, you may have to wait at least 30 minutes to buy tickets or more.|
Good to know! Saturday is a day to avoid because there are many more people than the other days, especially in the morning. In general, the crowds are higher in the morning.
Buy fast-track tickets to the Kremlin online
If you buy the Kremlin skip-the-line tickets directly on the Kremlin official website, you will avoid the queue. Good news: the Kremlin site is in English. Payment is secure and is made in rubles. Depending on the bank, fees may be charged for the euro / ruble exchange.
|The pros||The cons|
|Skip-the-line tickets from the official Kremlin site are the cheapest. By buying on the official website, you will get a voucher that allows you to collect your tickets in boxes without queuing, because there are counters specially dedicated to withdrawal. Do not forget your ID and go directly to the dedicated cash desks.|
If there is no available online tickets on the Kremlin website, it is also a good idea to buy tickets in advance from a travel agency: Skip the line tickets for Kremlin.
|If you are entitled to free tickets (under 16), you will still have to go through the cash desks. Skip-the-line tickets for the Kremlin do not work in this case.|
Good to know! The entry tickets to the Kremlin architectural complex are indicated as “TICKETS FOR VISITING THE ARCHITECTURAL COMPLEX OF THE CATHEDRAL SQUARE” on the site, while tickets for the Palace of Armor – such as “TICKET TO THE ARMOURY CHАMBER”. The number of entry tickets to the Palace of Armor is limited. Therefore, during busy periods (summer, late December, early January), you have to get ahead. At least 2 weeks in advance at least June, for example, and even more in late December and early January.
Moscow Kremlin guided tours
As tickets for the Armoury Chamber are limited, to go anyway you can go through guided tours, in groups or with a private guide. Certified guides have fast-track tickets and may still have seats. In addition, a guided tour in the Kremlin is worth it: you learn a lot and with many it is not so expensive, especially now with a fairly weak ruble.
With a private English-speaking guide
Only a certified guide is allowed to show you the Moscow Kremlin. For exemple:
From June to September, the Kremlin is very visited and even official guides cannot have tickets. During this period, one of the solutions for a guided tour is a group visit.
Moscow Kremlin group tour in English
The second solution is to visit the Kremlin and the Armoury Chamber in a group. This is surprising, but it is not necessarily more economical than with a private guide. However, if there are no more entry tickets, this is a good solution. There are two examples:
- 3 hours group tour of the Moscow Kremlin including the Armoury Chamber and The Diamond Fund
- 3 hours group tour of the Moscow Kremlin and the Red Square
Can we take pictures inside the Moscow Kremlin?
According to the Moscow Kremlin website, “it is forbidden to take photos and videos” inside the Armoury Chamber and the cathedrals”. There is no restriction for the exterior. You can still try to take photos inside the buildings, but the guards, often guards, will quickly point you out to stop.
Estimated visit time
A visit to the Kremlin and the Palace of Armor takes around 4 hours with a guided tour. If you go alone (without guide), it’s more or less equivalent. If you have fast-track tickets or you visit the Kremlin and the Palace of Armor with a certified guide, you also save a little time.
Good to know. There is nothing to eat inside the Kremlin, except maybe small snacks or ice cream. On the other hand, there are a few fast food restaurants near Okhotny Ryad station, but above all a lot of addresses on Nikolskaya Street, near Red Square and the Bolshoi Theater.
The Moscow Kremlin: what to see?
Kremlin means fortress in Slavic. The Moscow Kremlin is therefore not the only Kremlin in Russia. Nevertheless, it is the best known kremlin. It housed first the residence of the tsars, then the seat of the Soviet government, and today the Russian government. Finally, what is behind its walls?
- Cathedrals and churches;
- Exhibitions and museums;
- Palace of the Patriarch;
- State buildings which are not to be visited.
Most of the Kremlin to see is located on the Cathedral Square.
Cathedrals and churches of the Moscow Kremlin
(point 4 on the map, often called the Cathedral of the Assumption)
Built in 1475 and 1479 under the direction of an Italian architect, it was built in place of a small church erected by Ivan I to mark the accession of Moscow to the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church. The first stone church in Moscow, it was used for the coronation and marriage ceremonies of the Czars, as well as for important events of the heads of the Church.
(point 5 on the map)
Built in 1489, this cathedral has also preserved magnificent fragments of paintings from its time. The floor is in jasper. The cathedral was a private place for the Czars to gather and confess. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the chaplain was the personal confessor of members of the Tsar’s family.
Archangel Saint Michael’s Cathedral
(point 6 on the map)
Built in 1508 by an Italian architect (again!), One finds outside and inside the cathedral of Venetian Renaissance features. 46 tombs continue the necropolis of the cathedral. It is the necropolis of the princes of Moscow (independent principality of Moscow), and the first tsars of Russia. Here are the photos (author: poznamka).
Church of the Deposition-of-the-Robe
(point 7 on the map)
Built from 1484 to 1485, the church was built in honor of the relics of the Virgin brought from Palestine to Constantinople in 452.
Ivan The Great Bell Tower
(point 8 on the map)
The bell tower is 81 meters high. Built in 1508 and blown up by Napoleon’s army in 1812, the tower and the bell tower were rebuilt soon after. Also note that a beautiful panoramic view opens from the bell tower over the city.
Museums of the Moscow Kremlin
(point 9 on the map)
This museum of applied arts brings together an exceptional collection of the treasures of the tsars. There we find jewelry, crowns, costumes, diamonds, thrones, weapons and armor, all the riches of Russian princes and tsars accumulated during their centuries of reign.
Kremlin Museum of Treasures and Antiquities
(point 10 on the map)
This museum is located in the basement of the Annunciation Cathedral. It contains objects found during archaeological excavations on the territory of the Kremlin. They are mainly objects from medieval Russia.
(point 11 on the map)
Built on the orders of Patriarch Nikon in 1655, this palace includes several rooms and a church, the Church of the Twelve Apostles. The particularity of this place is the cruciform room of 300m² which has no pillars. There are also objects that occupied the rooms: furniture, the gospels, icons.
Other Kremlin attractions
There are other interesting attractions you can see during your visit to the Moscow Kremlin. For example, you can take a refreshing break in the Taïniski garden. In addition, in a small corner of the garden is a platform for helicopters, it can be used by the Russian President in an emergency!
Tsar Pouchka (point 12) is also an attraction (especially well known to Russians). It’s a gigantic cannon that weighs almost 40 tonnes! The Guinness Book of Records considers it the largest howitzer ever built.
In the same spirit, you can also see Tsar Kolokol (point 13), a gigantic bell tower which is located very close to the bell tower of Ivan the Great.
Around the Moscow Kremlin
I have summarized everything around the Kremlin and Red Square in this blog post: