The plateau lies within and takes its name from the historical region of Transylvania, and is almost entirely surrounded by the Eastern, Southern and Romanian Western branches of the Carpathian Mountains. The area includes the Transylvanian Plain.
It is improperly called a plateau, for it does not possess extensive plains, but is formed of a network of valleys of various size, ravines and canyons, united together by numerous small mountain ranges, which attain a height of 150-250 m (500-800 ft) above the altitude of the valley.
The plateau has a continental climate. Temperature varies a great deal in the course of a year, with warm summers contrasted by very cold winters. Vast forests cover parts of the plateau and the mountains. The mean elevation is 300-500 m (1,000-1,600 ft).