Saint Wolfgang erected the first church at the shore of the Wolfgangsee after he withdrew to the nearby Mondsee Abbey in 976. According to legend he threw an axe down the mountain to find the site and even persuaded the Devil to contribute to the building by promising him the first living being ever entering the church. However Satan was disappointed as the first creature over the doorstep was a wolf.
After Wolfgang's canonization in 1052, the church became a major pilgrimage site, as it was first mentioned in an 1183 deed by Pope Lucius III. In 1481 it was furnished with the famous Pacher polyptych. There had been several places for lodging around the church since medieval times, while the Weißes Rössl hotel was not built until 1878.