As you've found out from another article, there are 4 different types of things to see and visit inside the Kremlin, each with its own ticket. Now the most obvious question will be, "Do I really have to buy all of them?"
The answer is a resolute No. Here are some suggestions and thoughts to help you to assemble your own perfect Kremlin visit.
Below I bring my thoughts on which part of the Kremlin is most perfect for you in what situation as well as try to give you a general idea of what to expect from each of them. As a remainder, the 4 parts of the Kremlin that are mentioned here are: Ivan the Great bell tower, Kremlin's territory, Armory Chamber and Diamond Fund.
Ivan the Great Bell Tower
The easiest one to skip right away will be the bell tower. Takes an eternity to get to the top with no elevators, shows a fairly predictable view if you've walked around the city center before that and has a convoluted system of entering time-slots that might be not worth the hassle to understand.
Whether you're going to the other three should depend on what do you expect from and what's the purpose of your Kremlin visit. If you want to see everything inside no matter what, and you have at least 4,5 hours of free time; definitely go to all three. But in case you want to save some time and/or money, think of what do you care about most and exclude the rest.
If you're interested in taking a deeper dive into the Russian history and culture, there's no better place here than the Armory for that. With or without a guide, the sheer variety of things on display will help you get a good visual image of many aspects of life in the country. Searching for something truly exciting to simply look at, and not sure you want to spend much time inside? - the Diamond Fund will be the perfect solution for you. Want to visit the Kremlin proper or just get quickly get in and out to get the lay of the land? - look no further than the territory. Let's take a closer look at all three.
Kremlin's territory and cathedrals
The territory itself is very easy to recommend to people who just want to quickly visit the Kremlin for the sake of visiting itself. To be able to tell everyone and yourself later that yes, you've been there. Without it, even if you go to other museums inside, it might not feel like a complete visit. Like you've seen some royal dresses but you haven't seen the Kremlin itself.
That all said, it might eventually seem to you that there wasn't that much to actually see inside. Especially compared to the Armory and the Diamond Fund. You see a couple of government buildings without going in, the biggest cannon and bell in the world, and you visit three relatively similar churches (at least they might appear so if you have no particular interest or degree in architecture or Russian history). But ultimately, it all can seem slightly scarce on exciting sights to behold.
It definitely varies from person to person though. I've seen people gasping in astonishment (or at least convincingly acting it out) while looking at all the numerous golden cupolas there. And I've also seen as many people who simply said, "Meh..."
If you have no particular interest in museums and you just want to see the Kremlin from the inside, that'll be certainly the only ticket you should buy. If you're planning on going to other museums, and are more interested in facts and history, you can seriously consider skipping it. To get inside those museums you still need to enter the Kremlin's territory, albeit from the most uninspiring side. But technically, you visit the Kremlin as well.
Also, a very important thing about the territory is that while having a personal human guide improves your overall experience of all the places of interest inside, it particularly enhances and transforms the territory visit. There's technically a lot that you can talk about, it's just without someone actually talking it all looks like a bunch of silent buildings with little to none written signs. So yeah, if you have a chance to get a guide for any of the sights inside the Kremlin, take it for the territory. The rest can be much more self-explanatory.
Now that I hope you've started getting an idea about the Kremlin's territory, let's try to find out whether you should be so much excited about the Armory Chamber.
Yes, it showcases a one of a kind collection of immeasurable value for Russian and worldwide cultural heritage. Some exhibits there have no analogues anywhere else on the planet and are uniquely suitable to represent and portray the fine details of life and traditions of Russian royalty. But... How good of a job does the museum itself do to showcase them, to unfold the stories behind those items and fully convey the message of their importance - that's a totally different question.
And don't get me wrong here. The museum is OK and even fine most of the time. The biggest issue with it, that I'm sure you can objectively notice, is that the level of hype around it that the country keeps ratcheting up at every possible occasion (as Russia usually does) might not always correlate well with, at times, blatantly uninspired overall presentation.
Here you can read my objectively critical review of all the Armory's less polished aspects.
The final conclusion that I make there is that the museum is definitely better than an empty room but lags significantly behind the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg in every possible way. And even though I personally definitely recommend checking it out anyway, that reasonable doubt you might have about it could be very reasonable indeed.
And finally, it's the Diamond Fund. It is possibly the most foreigner-friendly part of the Kremlin and the most impressive one too. It allows you to go there at any moment during their working hours, it provides audio-guides, and all the women at the reception desk are under 50 and always smile to you.
If you're visiting the Armory, go see the diamonds too without a second thought. The tickets are available at any moment right at the entrance to the museum, inside the Armory building itself. Will also work perfect as a compact and much more visually appealing replacement for the Armory, in case you have limited time or just don't feel like spending 1,5-2 hours in a museum.
Going to the Kremlin just for the sake of the Fund might be a bit too brief of an experience. But unless seeing the territory and nothing but the territory is all you've wanted, considering the Diamond Fund as a potential addition to your visit, regardless of what other parts you end up going to, is always a great idea.
Thanks for reading! Click the ads below and everywhere else on the website if you liked the article. I hope it will at least somewhat help you to decide which parts of the Kremlin you want to visit. Leave all your comments below if you have any, and send all your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your stay!)