Hello, I plan to rent a car in Krakow to visit a rural village in the vicinity of Tarnow. I will be going on to Zakopane by car after that. MapQuest seems to have mapped out a route from Tarnow back to Krakow and then on to Zakopane rather than a direct route from Tarnow to Zakopane. Is there a direct route from Tarnow to Zakopane on rural roads that I could use instead? I would rather not backtrack to Krakow. If so, what are the roads like and how long will it take?
Try ViaMichelin, selecting »Discovery« under »Route options«. They give some 3,5 hrs for such routes instead of the 2,5 via Kraków.
And Google StreetView gives you an impression of what you'll encounter en route.
Keep in mind that Tarnow in 1915 was the place of massive fighting (WW1), destruction, etc. against the Russians. The train goes from Krakow Glowny to Tarnow.
You can travel through villages and Beskid Wyspowy mountains, but it'll take longer than the route via Krakow.
Roads in Poland are fine nowadays, even rural roads are OK to drive on. But highway via Krakow is definitely the fastest option, and you don't need to drive in the centre, it goes around the city.