Khyber Pakhtunkhwa sits primarily on the Iranian plateau and comprises the junction where the slopes of the Hindu Kush mountains on the Eurasian plate give way to the Indus-watered hills approaching South Asia. This situation has led to seismic activity in the past. The famous Khyber Pass links the province to Afghanistan, while the Kohalla Bridge in Circle Bakote Abbottabad is a major crossing point over the Jhelum River in the east.
Geographically the province could be divided into two zones: the northern one extending from the ranges of the Hindu Kush to the borders of Peshawar basin and the southern one extending from Peshawar to the Derajat basin.
The northern zone is cold and snowy in winters with heavy rainfall and pleasant summers with the exception of Peshawar basin, which is hot in summer and cold in winter. It has moderate rainfall. The southern zone is arid with hot summers and relatively cold winters and scanty rainfall.
The major rivers that criss-cross the province are the Kabul, Swat, Chitral, Kunar, Siran, Panjkora, Bara, Kurram, Dor, Haroo, Gomal and Zhob.
Its snow-capped peaks and lush green valleys of unusual beauty have enormous potential for tourism.
On the southern flanks of Nanga Parbat and in Upper and Lower Dir Districts, rainfall is much heavier than further north because moist winds from the Arabian Sea are able to penetrate the region. When they collide with the mountain slopes, winter depressions provide heavy precipitation. The monsoon, although short, is generally powerful. As a result, the southern slopes of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are the wettest part of Pakistan. Annual rainfall ranges from around 500 millimetres (20 in) in the most sheltered areas to as much as 1,750 millimetres (69 in) in parts of Abbottabad and Mansehra Districts.
This region's climate is classed at lower elevations as humid subtropical (Cfa in the west; Cwa in the east); whilst at higher elevations with a southerly aspect it becomes classed as humid continental (Dfb). However, accurate data for altitudes above 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) are practically nonexistent here, in Chitral, or in the south of the province.