The city is settled along the river Tagus (Tajo in Spanish) at a broad bank. There are two islands in the center of the city called Isla Grande and Chamelo Island. The city is surrounded by two ranges of mountains, in the north the Sierra de San Vicente, and in the south Montes de Toledo.
The city is divided in two by the river Tagus. The northern part is the larger and more populated; both parts are connected by three bridges, one of them built in the Middle Ages.
Talavera has a transition climate between the harsher continentalized mediterranean climate of the central table land and the mild-winter mediterranean climate of nearby Extremadura; Summers are hot and extremely dry and winters are moderately mild cool. Overall the climate is slightly warmer than Madrid. The area is very fertile with Mediterranean forests, elms, olive trees and cork forests.
The city is internationally known for its ceramics, which Philip II of Spain used as tiled revetments in many of his works, such as the monastery of El Escorial. The nickname of Talavera de la Reina is 'The City of Pottery' (La Ciudad de la Cerámica, in Spanish). Mexico's famous Talavera pottery was named after the city.