Now there's an option (finally) to buy two of the most essential types of Kremlin tickets online. But it might not always be the most practical solution. Let's find out when, how and why should you do that.
The only tickets that are available online are to the territory and to the Armory Chamber.
First, you need to decide what kinds of tickets are going to buy. If you're going only to the territory, buying them online is not that crucial. You'll still have to go to the same regular ticket office to collect your pre-paid tickets. And you can easily just buy them in person on the spot once you're there since those are the most readily available tickets in unlimited quantities at all times. If you're just buying those, you can continue reading this article explaining how to better buy them in person.
Where buying tickets online REALLY matters, is when you're trying to buy the Armory Chamber ones. In this case, you better buy all other tickets you need online too. Since you're already doing it, it'll be just easier to collect them all in the same ticket window.
Why is the Armory so different? Because the tickets are limited by quantity and each is tied to a specific time slot. There are only 500 tickets available for every time session, and about 60% of them in summertime get reserved by big tourist groups in advance.
If you somehow inadvertently managed to see the ticket booth before your visit, and you did it in summer, you might have noticed there was a huuuge line of people stretching for at least 25-50 meters outside of the building. Want to challenge you stamina and heat-resistance? You can join that herd every day for free. All you need to do is Not to buy your Armory tickets online. And then hours of empty standing and a ton of soaking fresh disappointment are absolutely guaranteed. Because even if you decide to take the stand, your chances of buying anything are pretty slim despite the sacrifice. The limited number of tickets is usually only enough to cover the first 25-30% of the entire line each time. Everyone else gets to stand until the next time-slot opens 2 hours later. It's an absolute slaughter! Don't you even dare to try to do this. Just imagine that buying Armory tickets online is the only way of doing it. That'll make your life much easier.
But even online, they sell like toilet paper at a curry festival. So it'll be a really good idea to buy them waaay ahead of time. All the tickets officially start getting sold 18 days in advance on the Kremlin's website. Keep that in mind, and try to buy them at least 10 days before the visit. Note that only about 90 tickets available for each time slot this way. Apparently, that's because they really want to make sure that the suffering in that giant line outside the ticket office never ends, and that the people there always have just enough tickets available to keep them hopeful, but never enough to actually get one. And that the employees inside, behind the heavily tinted windows always get to enjoy the everlasting circle of crushed expectations, devastated hopes and human misery. Well... whatever keeps them excited, I guess.
Here is the link to buy any of those tickets online from the Kremlin's official website. Switch categories at the top of the page and choose the type of tickets you need. Find an available date and follow the instructions. Notice how in the place where you switch between ticket types every category has the word "Tickets" in it, except the Armory which says "Ticket" (singular) instead. It very well might be a subtle hint at the quantity of those tickets that you are likely to find available if you didn't think about buying them ahead of time.
After you've paid for them there, you'll have to collect them all from one of the ticket windows in the main ticket booth on the day of the visit. Below you'll find a picture of said booth and its location on the map. Inside of it look for the windows number 1 and 2. They'll have inscriptions above saying that they deal only with pre-paid tickets and tourist groups. And while yeah, it's still potentially a queue, it's usually only around 1-5 minutes long rather than 30 minutes to eternity. All you need there is to show your passport. Other types of IDs with your name and photo on them usually work, but they might look upset by them since they officially require a passport.
Here you have it. Now you know how to secure for yourself a couple of hassle-free Kremlin tickets. Before you enter make sure you take a look one last time at all the people standing in line for the Armory tickets just to fully appreciate the size of the bullet you just dodged. And then with the feeling of total self-satisfaction choose the Kremlin entrance that suits you most from the picture above and go inside. (Entrance 1 is for the territory, Entrance 2 is for the Armory and the Diamond Fund)
Have a nice visit!)