I can't help you with the mods becouse everyone has to decide what is good for them, as for maps I LOVED Anar's Europe Small Edition (or something like that) and a standard sized world map but I forgot who made it. Marla's map is good, but turns take 15 minutes late in the game and I don't like it.
Get Plutarck's LWC mod for better game play - it makes for a much more enjoyable game, tech and unit transitions are much smooth and combat more balanced.
Also so nice new city improvements and wonders. Can't recommend this one high enough.