In the univariate case, box-plots do provide some information that the histogram does not (at least, not explicitly). That is, it typically provides the median, 25th and 75th percentile, min/max that is not an outlier and explicitly separates the points that are considered outliers. This can all be "eyeballed" from the histogram (and may be better to be eyeballed in the case of outliers).
However, the much bigger advantage is in comparing distributions across many different groups all at once. With 10+ groups, this is a tiring task with side-by-side histograms, but very easy with box plots.
As you mentioned, violin plots (or bean plots) are somewhat more informative alternatives. However, they require slightly more statistical knowledge than the box plots (i.e. if presenting to a non-statistical audience, it may be a little more intimidating) and box-plots have been around much longer than kernel density estimators, hence their greater popularity.