Kretinga is the capital of the Kretinga district municipality. It is located 12 km (7.5 mi) east of the popular Baltic Sea resort town of Palanga, and about 25 km (16 mi) north of Lithuania's 3rd largest city and principal seaport Klaipėda.
The population was listed as 21,423 in the 2001 census. It is the 6th largest city in the ethnographic region of Samogitia and the 18th largest city in Lithuania. Kretinga is one of the oldest cities in Lithuania. For the first time it was mentioned in 1253 as a castle Cretyn in the charter of bishop Heinrich of Courland. Since Lithuania's independence in 1990, the town has made a recovery - it has much to offer by way of history and art.
Kretinga hosts folk music festivals, theatricals, the Kretinga Festival, celebrations on Midsummer Night's Eve (Joninės) and Mardi Gras (Užgavėnės) and a Manorial Feast. The manor is now a museum housing artistic and archeological collections and a restaurant in the adjacent greenhouse, called "The Winter Garden". A Cambrian geothermal reservoir underlies the area, and the Vydmantai powerplant exploiting this resource is being built nearby.
There flows The Šventoji River along the north-western boundary of the District. On the eastern boundary of the District flows the most beautiful Samogitian River Minija, where aquatic tourists like boating. Marvellous scenery opens in the valley of Salantas – a tributary of Minija – with a channel of the rivers winding in highly impressive meanders and a landscape nearly untouched by human activities. There is the Salantai Regional Park covering part of the Minija basin. The Akmena River flowing out of the Vaineikiai forests is called Danė beyond the limits of the Kretinga District. It is perhaps the most picturesque at the Genčai and Kurmaičiai dams. Near Darbėnai settlement lies the only one natural lake in the District - Kasučiai Lake, but there is even larger artificial lake, covering 108 ha area at Lazdininkai Village.
Kretinga District is in a convenient transport position. The railway and dense road network in the District makes it easier to reach important and visiting cities. By the railway one can reach Klaipeda (Lithuanian port) and Vilnius (Lithuanian capital city). By the highways one can also reach Gargždai, Klaipėda, Liepaja (Latvia), Palanga, Salantai, Skuodas and Šiauliai.