Almaty Region surrounds the city of Almaty. The region borders Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang in the People's Republic of China. The region also touches three other regions of Kazakhstan: Jambyl Region to the west, Karaganda Region to the northwest, and East Kazakhstan Region to the north. Almaty Region has an area of 224,000 square kilometres.
Much of the northwestern border of the region runs along Lake Balkhash, whose main affluent, the Ili River, is the most significant river of the region. In the region's northeast, it shares the four lakes of the Alakol Depression (Lakes Alakol, Sasykkol, Koshkarkol, and Zhalanashkol) with East Kazakhstan Region. Other lakes within the region include Bartogay Lake and Kapshagay lakes, Lake Issyk, Kaindy and Kolsai lakes.
The Trans-Ili Alatau branch of the Tian Shan Mountains extends from China and Kyrgyzstan into Almaty Region, along its southern border with Kyrgyzstan. Farther to the northeast, the Dzungarian Alatau runs along the region's border with China.
The Charyn Canyon is one of the region's famous scenic spots.
Alma-Ata Region, the predecessor of today's Almaty Region, was created from the historical region of Zhetysu on March 10, 1932. Its capital was Alma-Ata (Almaty). Several times during the Soviet period, the north-eastern part of the region, centered on Taldykorgan, was separated from Alma-Ata Region, forming a separate Taldy-Kurgan Region, only to be merged into Alma-Ata Region again several years later.