Pälkäne's landscape is dominated by water - in fact, a quarter of the municipality's area is lakes! The largest lakes are Mallasvesi on the west side of Onkkaala (Pälkäne town centre), Pälkänevesi to the east and Kukkia in Luopioinen. The Kostian river (Kostianvirta) runs throught the centre of Pälkäne, linking the lakes of Pälkänevesi and Mallasvesi. Close to lake Mallasvesi is a protected region which is home to Finland's largest forest of black alder trees. The eastern shore of lake Mallasvesi has a fine sandy beach. Lake Kukkia is renowned for its beauty and clear water, and is home to the endangered Ormio aquatic fern.
Pälkäne is accessible by water from Tampere, Hämeenlinna, Valkeakoski, Hauho and Längelmäki, and visitors can dock their boats at the guest harbour on the Kostian river.
Pälkäne forms part of a ridge stretching from Salpausselä in the east to Ostrobothnia in the west. The highest elevation in Pälkäne is Syrjänharju, in the northwest of Onkkaalan. Here the Syrjänharju water tower can be found, a 150m high viewing tower offering majestic views of the lakes and countryside.