Originally a part of the Duchy of Bavaria, the town became part of the Duchy of Austria during the 12th century. It was occupied several times during the Napoleonic Wars. Since 1918 it is part of Upper Austria and since 1921 an autonomous town (before that, it was part of Hallstatt)
In 1895 an "association for beautification of the town and advancement of tourism" was founded. That was the starting point for tourism at Obertraun. During the summer of that year, the first tourists arrive at the town. In 1947 the construction of the Dachstein Cablecar is started.