Dali urban area is 46.3 kilometers from east to west and 59.3 kilometers from south to north. It covers an area of 1,457.27 square kilometers, of which 229 square kilometers, or 15.71 percent of the total area consists of irrigated territory; 978.927 square kilometers, or 67.27 percent of the total area is mountainous; and 249.343 square kilometers, or 17.02 percent of the total area is occupied by Erhai Lake.
The city has Binchuan and Xiangyun to the east, Midu and Weishan to the south, Yangbi to the west and Eryuan to the north. Dali is also the juncture of the Yunnan-Myanmar and Yunnan-Tibet Highways. With these unique geographical conditions, Dali is a communication hub and distribution center of materials in western Yunnan Province.