The current incarnation of Rough Guide Publishing's Directions series does the former quite well. My recently arrived copy of the Rough Guide Directions: Barcelona is opened and closed with fold-out maps of the city. In between the book is broken into chapters, starting with an Introduction to the city, then Ideas, then Places, Accommodation, Essentials, and Language.
The Ideas chapter is what I have been most interested in as it lists an assortment of locations and events with only a photo and a line or two to provide the reader / traveler with a, well, idea of what there is to see and do in the city. The following chapter on Places provides much more information on many of the places listed in the Ideas section, and while keeping itself primarily to a brief description of the location, provides timetables, maps, phone numbers, and contact names where necessary.
The Accommodation and Essentials chapters do much the same as any guidebook, but the Language chapter stands out as an excellent travel preparation and in-country tool, with sections on pronunciation, words and phrases for hotels and taxis, and a well made menu reader.
As an added bonus, purchase of the physical book provides the reader / traveler with a CD containing the full e-text of the book in PDF format for loading onto a laptop or PDA or cellphone.
All in all, this is a quick, simple travel guide for people who like to explore and have a look around, written by people who like to do the same. A traveler heading to a European destination could do far worse for guidebooks than the Rough Guide Directions Series.
Cross-posted to Soapadoo.